There's been much recent speculation about the future of West Coast Cooler backman, David Wirrpunda. None of it, of course, from the After Grog Blog's thoroughly professional team of reporters. As the editor, let me quote from our Mission Statement � "Speculation and gossip are not part of our journalistic canon." We prefer the term "hearsay".
And yet, despite our undoubted assiduity, we continue to suffer the occasional (and, sob, hurtful) allegation of scandalatious reportage. And sanity lapses. But they don't la la la noo noo Syd Barrett gumble goodle concern us.
In our defence it should be pointed out that ever since the AGB first revealed Wirrpunda's potential transfer to Melbourne in 2002, there have been articles in The Age and The Footy Record opining on his wish to return to Melbourne. And now an article in The West Australian (repeated in The Age) denying he wants to leave.
That's a football denial. As in full and frank admission. Know what I mean? No? Well, consider this press conference exchange between that intrepid young cub reporter, Gareth Parker, and a football identity who�s not Adrian "Barra" Barich, Guy "Bluey" McKenna, Chris "Mainy" Mainwaring, Dean "Kempy" Kemp, John "Woosha" Worsfold, Ben "Benno" Allan or even local ABC boys, Phil "Pet" Lamb and Rod "Spinner" Willett but long-time Coolers C.E.O, Trevor "Nizzy" Nisbett....
Nizzy � "We are totally behind our coach. He has the complete support of the board."
Gareth � "Total? Complete?"
Nizzy � "I'm sorry? You are....?"
Gareth � "Gareth Parker. Western Rural Advertiser Budget. Sports and veterinary desk."
Nizzy � "Righto then. Nice to meet you Gareth. However, this is footy western style. To progress in this business you need a nickname. Something snappy. Preferably one word."
Gareth � "I like Bunky."
Nizzy � "I prefer Gazzo. May I call you Gazzo?"
Gazzo [Nee Gareth] � "Err, no. Anyway, you were saying the coach has the total and complete support of the board."
Nizzy � "Yes. That�s right Gazzo. And we'll be appointing a new one on Monday morning."
So, in light of that denial-non-denial footy-speak, let�s look at John McGrath�s article shall we....
DAVID WIRRPUNDA has told West Coast he wants to stay.
The big letters look mighty impressive but they don't conceal the fact that Wirrpunda has only SAID he wants to stay. They don't go on to say "If the price is right." or "Offer me lots more loverley lolly and I'll think about it!". And don't think the footy public�s convinced when....
Nisbett said Wirrpunda had been taken out of context in a Melbourne newspaper report last week that said he was looking to go home.
TOOC? I don't think so. Allow me to take you IN context Nizzy....
"He said he'd like to go home at some stage because he is a Victorian......they thought he meant yesterday or tomorrow," Nisbett said.
No they didn't. Don't play the slippery eel with us Nizzy. Of course they didn't mean yesterday or tomorrow. They meant at the end of last year, or the end of this one.
Tsagalis admitted feelers from Victorian clubs had increased since the report.
"A lot has been made of David's family but he has a big family here at the Eagles. He's been here since he was 16."
Isn�t that nice. But what about Bitey?
He is enjoying one of his best years as an AFL player.
Coincidentally, one of the few years he's managed to stay on the park.
West Coast has 11 players coming out of contract, which Nisbett says is the fewest for seven or eight years.
"We've generally got 50 per-cent of our list," he said.
Say What?!? Sorry. I mean, "half-what".
Footy speak. Talk lots. Say nothing.
After I read the article in Friday's Age I called around to find out if there was anymore oil on Wirrpunda leaving West Coast this year. I was told he's still up on offer and there was even a club mentioned.
Wirrpunda may yet stay at West Coast but it won�t be because of any particular love for the famous old blue and gold jumper. Or even the tie-dyed surfer-bum affair from a couple of years ago. It will be because West Coast couldn�t arrange a suitable swap.