Former AFL star Kane Cornes has delivered a blunt message to Sydney Stack after urging the Richmond young gun to focus more time on improving his game and less on social media.
Stack - who is prominent on TikTok and Instagram - was given a recent reality check by Tigers elite performance manager Peter Burge, who told the Herald Sun that the 21-year old “still has some work to do with consistency of preparation".
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The gifted youngster's 33-game AFL career has been blighted by a a number of off-field controversies including a 10-game suspension in 2020 for breaching Covid-19 protocols by getting involved in an altercation on the Gold Coast.
Stack also spent Christmas in Perth’s Hakea prison later that year for allegedly breaching WA's coronavirus quarantine restrictions.
Cornes - speaking on SEN Breakfast - said he believes Stack could thrive if he dedicates more of his time and focus on his footy career, and less on his private life.
“How Richmond go this year is going to be dependent on how a lot of their younger players come through,” Cornes said.
“One of those is Sydney Stack. I know he wasn’t taken in the top 10 (of the 2019 draft) with Connor Rozee, Sam Walsh and Bailey Smith, but he’s in that situation of his career. He is equally as talented as any of those.... he’s lost his way a little bit for reasons that we know of.
“There’s a bit of old school in me about this. Whether someone at Richmond has done it or not, or whether the new era is to just let individuals be individuals and embrace social media.
“But there’s something in me that says, ‘Sydney, put your social media away, put your ridiculous TikTok videos away — if you’ve watched them, they’re cringeworthy, they’re embarrassing — until you get a kick’.
“He’s achieved nothing, but he has the capabilities to be a very, very good 200-game player.
Concerns Sydney Stack is 'wasting' his talent
Cornes says he's worried that Stack is "wasting" his natural talent and went as far as suggesting that the club should implement a "ban" on his social media use.
“For those Richmond fans who have seen his social media videos, am I too old school to think that I could sit him down, shake him, ban him from TikTok until he gets a kick and has some success? Or is that not the way it goes now?
“That’s what they are saying publicly, that he’s got a lot of work to do. Imagine what they’re saying privately about his preparation and his endurance and his skin folds.
“What I’m worried about is he is wasting it. He’s as talented as Rozee, Walsh and Smith, but I reckon he’s wasting it.”
The Port Adelaide legend says the difference between Stack and someone like Patrick Dangerfield - who is also very active on social media - is that the Geelong veteran's performance on the field rarely wavers.
“Dangerfield uses social media exceptionally well and it’s not uncommon for him to be on social media on game day, it doesn’t affect his performance,” Cornes added.
“I reckon this distraction (with Stack) is affecting performance. When your club is telling you you’ve got lots of work to do with your preparation, then you look at all things about how I cannot waste this opportunity.”
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