A humble John Worsfold thanked his players for going beyond even his
expectations after winning the AFL Coaches’ Association’s Allan Jeans
Senior Coach of the Year Award.
The award, which was renamed in
2011 to honour the passing of the Hawthorn and St Kilda premiership
coach, was presented on Tuesday night in front of more than 500 guests
at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
Worsfold, who led West Coast from
the wooden spoon in 2010 to preliminary finalists this year, admitted it
was a remarkable turnaround.
“The players delivered above what I thought they could,” Worsfold said.
“To go through a tough year, you learn a lot,” the 2006 premiership coach added.
all learn a lot from some of the hardships of our life, the doubt that
people try to push onto the group, that you don’t have the talent on
your list and you’re going to be on the bottom for a long period of
“They didn’t train in the pre-season thinking ‘we’re going to be an average team again’.
“To see that is a great thing to be part of. Those guys believed in what we were all about and delivered the results.”
thanked the Eagles’ board for keeping faith in him after last season
despite critics in the media suggesting West Coast’s future looked bleak
under his coaching.
“To win an award named after Allan Jeans is extremely humbling,” Worsfold said.
“It is a wonderful thing to be able to say I’ve won an award with his name associated with it.”
Carlton midfielder Marc Murphy outshone his higher-profile rivals to win the AFLCA’s player of the year award.
Murphy polled 94 votes from senior coaches with Blues teammate and dual Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd in second place on 90.
Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell and Western Bulldogs’ Matthew Boyd tied for third on 87.
Dane Swan, who was crowned the 2011 Brownlow Medallist on Monday, was
equal fifth on 80 votes alongside Gold Coast skipper Gary Ablett.
four-time premiership mentor Tom Hafey claimed the third annual
coaching legend award, joining John Kennedy Senior and Ron Barassi as
winners of the prestigious title.
Ex-Tigers rover and AFL
Hall-of-Fame Legend Kevin Bartlett presented the award. Bartlett
described Hafey, who also coached Collingwood, Geelong and Sydney, as
the game’s greatest coach.
“Tommy Hafey, he changed the face of
coaching. Richmond became the fittest team in the competition,” Bartlett
said of the Tigers team that won four flags from 1967 to 1974.
Hafey, who preached a simple game plan of kicking long, said he wasn’t thrilled with modern football.
there anybody out there who likes seeing the ball kicked back and
sideways? I do get a bit jacked off,” Hafey said on Tuesday night.
Still super-fit at 80, Hafey said he felt greatly honoured to win the award.
Meanwhile, Fremantle utility Nathan Fyfe was named best young player.
North Melbourne’s Darren Crocker was handed the award for best assistant coach.