GWS caretaker coach Mark McVeigh made headlines over the weekend, calling out, by omission, the players who have checked out of the season.
The Giants were belted by crosstown rivals Sydney on Saturday afternoon 112-39. In his post-match press conference, McVeigh named eight players who he believes showed they’re still invested.
“There’s just the unfortunate part of dealing with whether players have checked out or not,” he said.
“That’s as honest as you possibly can be.
“There were probably eight players that really went to the wall today – Kelly, Whitfield, Perryman, Taylor, Ward, Hogan, Greene and Kennedy.
“I thought those eight players fought right through to the end and gave absolutely everything. Eight players doing that is not enough.”
The Giants have a number of players linked with an exit at season’s end, including Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Bobby Hill, Tom Green and Tanner Bruhn.
Garry Lyon believes rival clubs should double down on their attempts to lure these players out, based on McVeigh’s post-game comments.
“Naming them and by omission that becomes … if I’m Tim Taranto or Jacob Hopper or Tom Green, (those comments) are an indictment on me,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“Rarely does it come out publicly where (the coach) lumps you into that list and then not only that, about checking out of the year with three games still to plays.
“It is as damning an assessment, again, by omission, and I’m talking about when you name names, listening to that, Spike was considered enough and he would’ve known ‘when I go down this path and say there’s players checked out then I am acutely aware that this is putting the crosshairs on Taranto, Hopper, Green’.
“How do they come up for this week, those players?
“(Those comments are) an indictment on you as a person and a footballer.
“In the ruthless industry that we’re in, those comments for me also give Richmond, just for example, if you were interested in Tom Green before the weekend and those comments, then now you are going as hard as you possibly could – or Taranto or Hopper for that matter.
“Whoever the teams are that are interested in them, you’re going ‘righto, this is where they see you, and here’s your opportunity’.”
Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley believes the unfolding situation at the Giants, following the sacking of coach Leon Cameron, has not put the players in the best environment to succeed.
“Firstly, I admire… that is a courageous thing to put out there by Mark McVeigh,” Buckley said.
“Whether it’s good for the club, I think it’s good for everyone in terms of the playing group, the club in general, the coaching staff, to actually be able to have real conversations about where they’re at.
“If their performance hasn’t been up to standard, well then it’s the coach’s responsibility to call that out.
“I reckon Mark McVeigh said what everyone knows anyway. That is, if you don’t have coach for next year, if there’s not a purpose beyond this next two or three games, what are (they) actually doing?
“The fact that it’s a game against Sydney is why he’s probably so wound up. It’s professional integrity, but you still need to be a part of something bigger than yourself. They are part of an organization that, at the moment, is in limbo.
“They don’t know who their coach is next year, they haven’t really given the players a lot of clarity, the coach’s job and the footy department’s job is to set their players up to succeed.
“My question would be, and I’m not letting the players off for poor effort, but the club’s job is to set players up to succeed and I don’t think the GWS environment, given they don’t know who their coach will be, or how their footy department is going to be setup, I don’t reckon they give their players the best chance to succeed right here right now.”
The Giants host Essendon on Saturday afternoon, before closing the season with the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle.