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‘Worse than we thought’: Kane Cornes lights West Coast during awards show

Kane Cornes says the West Coast crisis could be even worse than first thought after taking a look at the club’s best and fairest award results.

Tim Kelly was the standout after a consistent season in which he presented his first John Worsfold medal and finished ahead of Oscar Allen.

Star striker Allen enjoyed his best season ever, finishing with 53 goals and being included in the 44-man All-Australian squad.

However, it’s the talent of the two stars that stuns Cornes.

The Port Adelaide star told SEN Breakfast on Monday morning that the results were as “ugly” as the best and fairest clubs he can remember – surpassed only by the Giants’ absurd first seasons in the competition.

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Kelly (200 points) was crowned club champion on Saturday night ahead of Allen (163), Liam Duggan (158), Jayden Hunt (116) and Shannon Hurn (102) after the club’s miserable season ended in another loss to Adelaide last week .

Despite having their worst season in club history, the Eagles have held on to their hard-pressed coach, Adam Simpson, who is tasked with rebuilding the club’s roster from the ground up.

The best and fairest results from Saturday show that he has a difficult task ahead of him.

Outgoing Premiership winners Hurn placed well on the count despite the 35-year-old having only played 13 games.

Andrew Gaff (85) also did well, despite an ugly slump in form during the year that saw him removed as the club’s reserve through injury following numerous calls to release him to the WAFL.

“I looked at West’s Coast best and fairest what happened over the weekend,” Cornes said on SEN Breakfast.

“It’s alarming. Here are some of the results, which you can delve into if you like.

“Tim Kelly won and he deserved the win, he had a great season, congratulations to Tim.”

“Oscar Allen was the other standout for his performance, he was in the All-Australian squad and scored 53 goals for that team.

“After that, the best and fairest result is as ugly as is to be seen.

“I’ll give you an example of that. Shannon Hurn finished fifth – he’s now retired and has played 13 games. That has to be the smoothest top five finish ever.

“Andrew Gaff – who, with all due respect, probably shouldn’t play AFL football at all despite being an excellent player – but time’s up for Andrew, he finished seventh at his best and fairest.

“Alex Witherden probably wouldn’t make the list for most clubs, but with all due respect, he finished eighth in their best and fairest result.”

He said the Eagles’ biggest problem is that the club’s older players appear unable to guide a new generation of players through the rebuild.

“Look, they’ve chosen their coach again, rightly or wrongly, that’s your debate,” Cornes said.

“But the alarming trend is their play list and what they don’t have because the young people that are coming in aren’t going to help.

“It’s the older players in this top 10 of the best and fairest. It will drive improvement for that group.

“Maybe the Eagles are even worse than we think.”

But that doesn’t mean the award was any less of an honor for Kelly.

The former Geelong Premiership winner was the clear winner using the scoring system, in which the five members of the West Coast Game Committee rated each player’s performance in each game from 0 to 3

“It’s a great honor to win this award,” said Kelly.

“I’m really grateful for that.”

He played in 22 of the club’s 23 games, averaging 28 possessions, six clearances and nearly five tackles per game.

The midfielder led the club in disposals, inside throws, clearances, tackles, contested possession and goal involvement, while also finishing fifth in goals.

Kelly’s ability to perform well during difficult times for the team set him apart in 2023.

In games West Coast lost by 100+ points, he averaged 27 dismounts and five releases. He also never had fewer than 20 possessions in a game and amassed 39 or more disposals on seven occasions.

The 29-year-old is entering the fourth season of his six-year deal since joining from Geelong in late 2019.

Kelly, an All-Australian in the cattery, placed seventh in the West Coast’s Best and Fairest in 2020, sixth in 2021 and third place last season.

Allen’s runner-up came after a season in which he scored a career-best 53 goals, earning him the club’s top goal-kicker award. The key forward was recognized by the All-Australian selectors with a position in the original 44-man squad.

John Worsfold Medal in the top 10

1. Tim Kelly – 200 votes

2. Oscar Allen – 163

3. Liam Duggan – 158

4.Jayden Hunt-116

5. Shannon Hurn – 102

6. Bailey Williams – 101

7.Andrew Gaff-85

8. Alex Witherden – 84

9. Tom Barrass – 79

9. Noah Long – 79

with Chris O’Donoghue, Perth Now

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