Jack Darling drama: Will decision hurt West Coast young gun Oscar Allen?
AFL great Dermott Brereton believes Jack Darling’s decision to not get vaccinated is a “huge loss” for the Eagles and could hurt the development of young Oscar Allen.
With Darling officially unable to train or play until he adheres to the AFL’s strict COVID policy, Brereton questioned how West Coast could challenge for a premiership if they remained a key forward short.
“Someone like Jack Darling, if he remains in this position, he’s giving up an awful lot in his life,” he said on SEN.
“It’s a big loss for the Eagles. It’s a huge loss.
“This leaves them with two (forwards). (Jake) Waterman and that seem reasonable players but they’re not somebody who if you’ve got a finals-type backline you go, ‘Woah how do we match up on him?’.”
With Josh Kennedy nearing the end of his stellar AFL career, Brereton warned of putting too much pressure on 22-year-old Allen in Darling’s likely absence.
“It might hurt him a bit if he gets a lot of focus,” he said.
“He’s still a young man.”
Commentator Dwayne Russell agreed the loss of Darling would be tough to cover.
“It would be a savage blow if he can’t play for Adam Simpson and the club,” he warned.
Darling remains on a lucrative deal, worth an estimated $800,000 per season, until the end of 2025. But his decision to remain unvaccinated could see him earn as little as $23,000 if placed on the club’s inactive list.
The star took to social media himself on Friday afternoon to explain his absence from West Coast, claiming he was on “sick leave”.
“My club has been provided with a medical certificate,” he posted.
“I have been diagnosed with suffering from a work related injury and as a result I am on sick leave until further notice.
“I will not go into any details as to my medical condition as I wish to keep that strictly private.
“I am doing my best to work with the club and my doctors so I can recover from my injury.
“I intend to return back to training as soon as I am fit and able.”
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