Kane Cornes calls for West Coast Eagles forward Jack Darling to be transparent over vaccination stance

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
Kane Cornes has called for Jack Darling  to be transparent over his vaccination status.
Camera IconKane Cornes has called for Jack Darling to be transparent over his vaccination status. Credit: The West Australian Sport

Outspoken AFL expert Kane Cornes has called for West Coast forward Jack Darling to be transparent over his anti-vaccination stance which has his career hanging by a thread.

The Eagles sent shock waves through the AFL on Friday when they released a statement saying that Darling had not met the league’s COVID-19 training and playing mandates and would not be allowed at the club until he did so.

The 29-year-old broke his silence later that afternoon on social media, contradicting the club’s release by saying he was absent from training because of a “work related injury” and he was “on sick leave until further notice”.

Cornes said Darling needed to be “up front and honest” over his anti-vaccination stance.

“This is the last thing (the Eagles) need,” Cornes told SEN.

“You look at Jack Darling in his career, he’s a 2.5 goal per game player. His record is very, very good for a key forward in this league.

“Him and Oscar Allen are going to take this forward line forward and you get this? Completely unexpected for me.

Jack Darling’s playing future is unknown.
Camera IconJack Darling’s playing future is unknown. Credit: Will Russell/AFL Photos

“If that’s what you want to do and that’s the way that you want to go, I would love for you to be up front and honest about the reasons for it and not getting vaccinated and stand by your convictions.

“I’ve seen people sharing screenshots of his Twitter account where he’s been liking a whole heap of anti-vax sentiments.

“If that’s it, then tell us that’s it. Don’t go and hide behind a workplace injury, because what’s a workplace injury when your job is playing AFL? Is it a hammy, a knee? Is that a back? What is a workplace injury that could prevent you from getting vaccinated?

“I don’t think he’s being that transparent. At this point it looks as though his career is over and as sad as that is, that is the reality.”

Cornes said the loss of Darling compounded a series of issues for the Eagles which left them “in a bit of trouble”.

“The cliff has been coming for some time now and you look at the demographic of their list and what they gave up to get Tim Kelly in the door and the lack of draft picks they’ve had and the age of their best players,” Cornes said.

“You look through all of their best players, you can go from Nic Naitanui down to Josh Kennedy, they’re all 30-plus and Luke Shuey and the injuries that they’ve had. You’ve got Brad Sheppard who has retired through pre-season, not at the end of the year, so that hurts you as well.

“You’ve got the Willie Rioli saga, you’ve got the borders (being shut). There’s a whole heap of challenges for Adam Simpson and this West Coast Eagles group.

“The way that they play is questionable and there’s been some criticism on Adam Simpson and his game-plan, so they’re under a whole heap of pressure.”

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