AFL 2021: Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes makes brutal grand final call
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes has hit out at suggestions premiership medals should be awarded to non-playing members of the team that wins the AFL grand final.
An ACL injury has robbed Josh Bruce of the opportunity to play in next weekend’s grand final, which led the Bulldogs key forward to renew calls for the AFL to take inspiration from American sports leagues in awarding premiership silverware.
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“Perhaps we should go to the NFL or the NBA model and everyone gets a ring, everyone gets a medal. That’d be good,” he said on 7 News.
“There’s going to be some unlucky players, that happens every single year.”
Bruce and Melbourne 300-gamer Nathan Jones are two of those certain to miss out, with both set to be in Melbourne for the big day. James Jordon, Laitham Vandermeer, Jason Johannisen and Ryan Gardner could all be on the chopping block ahead of grand final day, despite playing senior footy regularly in season 2021.
However, 2004 premiership player Cornes said he did not feel those dropped for the decider deserved a medal if their side emerged victorious.
“I was always strongly of the belief that only the 22 that play deserve a medal,” Cornes said on SEN SA Breakfast.
“I wouldn’t have wanted a medal because I wouldn’t have felt like I deserved it, as brutal as that is. Maybe things have changed with the Covid situation and Josh is one of the first players that I’ve actually ever heard say, ‘Yep, I’d really like a medal if we did win.’
“So, I absolutely understand the debate, but I just don’t think it would feel like you’d fully deserved it, as harsh as it sounds.”
Cornes went as far as to say unused medical substitutes should not qualify for premiership silverware, either.
“That goes even if you’re a medical sub next Saturday and you don’t get on the ground or you get on the ground for five minutes,” he said.
“I’m not sure I’d feel that I absolutely deserved a premiership medal, but I know there’s a lot of differing views.”
Cornes suggested assistant coaches from the winning side might deserve a medal, singling out Demons assistant Mark “Choco” Williams, the man who coached Cornes and the Power to the 2004 flag, as particularly worthy of recognition.
“Maybe that extends to the coaching staff as well. I mean, you could argue that assistants like ‘Choco’ Williams … you could argue that he’s deserving of a premiership medal,” he said.
“Is it more now of a squad that’s worthy of a medal? Not just the players, but the coaches as well?
“Should some of the assistants be rewarded? I can tell you the influence that Mark Williams has had has been as significant as any of the players.”
Originally published as AFL 2021: Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes makes brutal grand final call
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