Sumich to miss club champion night
West Coast great Peter Sumich has missed a chance for a heroes send-off by not attending the Eagles club champion presentations in Perth.
Sumich has fuelled fire to his shock Eagles walkout with his decision to miss his club’s end of season fairest-and-best function.
It is also looming as highly unlikely that West Coast will confirm a contract extension for senior coach and club icon John Worsfold at their 2011 end-of-season function on Friday.
Worsfold, 43, remains locked in delicate negotiations with Eagles management on his new deal.
Speculation has raged for weeks on just when Worsfold and West Coast would announce extension of his now decade-long coaching time with the Eagles after his remarkable turnaround in 2011 to preliminary finalists.
West Coast chairman and former WAFL premiership star Alan Cransberg is handling negotiations with Worsfold.
It appears debate continues between the 2006 premiership coach and Cransberg on whether Worsfold should be extended for another two or three seasons.
Worsfold is believed to want three years, while Cransberg and Eagles powerbrokers want West Coast’s most iconic figure to take just two more years.
Worsfold is understood to have not agreed to terms and no further discussions have taken place since losing last month’s preliminary final to eventual premiers Geelong.
After a hectic follow-up to the Cats loss including Worsfold staying in Melbourne to accept his 2011 Coach of the Year award, he returned from a week-long holiday in WA’s north-west on Friday in time for the club champion function.
The flag winning coach and 1992 and ’94 premiership captain is believed to have initially been rocked and stunned at Sumich’s decision to leave.
Sumich, 43, shocked AFL circles and especially in the west, when he defected from West Coast to take a senior assistant coaching appointment at bitter local rival Fremantle earlier this week.
It was unclear whether the long-standing playing and coaching servant would attend West Coast’s club champion vote count and presentation in a farewell to more than 20 years of service.
But it emerged late into the week that Sumich would not attend the function after playing his part in a stunning turn-around from wooden spooners in 2010 to preliminary finalists this year.
The 1992 and ’94 premiership hero and seven-times club leading goal-kicker as well as 2006 premiership midfield coach was poached by Fremantle football operations manager Chris Bond.
Dockers powerbrokers established late last month that Sumich had not been signed to any extension at West Coast, while Eagles management had locked imported assistants Scott Burns and Phil Walsh onto new contracts.
Burns has agreed to a new two-year deal as a Worsfold assistant and midfields specialist, while Walsh is believed to have signed a three-year extension as the Eagles crucial strategist and innovations coach.
Sumich joins Fremantle’s controversial new senior coach appointment Ross Lyon, who replaced Mark Harvey in a stunning Dockers recruiting coup last month.
Sumich had even committed to stay on for two more seasons at West Coast after a decade as senior assistant to head-coach and close mate Worsfold.
Sumich negotiated for almost two weeks with Bond while the Eagles great remained without a signiature on any West Coast coaching extension under Worsfold.