Fremantle coach's pointed response after West Coast nightclub furore

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·Sports Editor
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West Coast players Jackson Nelson and Josh Rotham, pictured here at a Perth nightclub.
Justin Longmuir has spoken out after West Coast players Jackson Nelson and Josh Rotham were spotted at a Perth nightclub. Image: Twitter/Getty

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has sent a pointed message to his players in light of the West Coast Eagles' nightclub controversy.

The Dockers were missing six players due to Covid health and safety protocols on Friday night, but still crushed North Melbourne by 78 points to improve their record to 7-1.

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Cross-town rivals West Coast have been hit even harder amid the Covid-19 peak in WA and have twice been forced to use top-up players to field a side.

They hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week when photos emerged of players Jackson Nelson and Josh Rotham attending a Perth nightclub just one day after the Eagles suffered a 109-point loss to Richmond.

West Coast are now investigating the breach, which was made by an unidentified number of players.

"I am furious and disappointed with the actions of these players," coach Adam Simpson said in a club statement.

Josh Rotham and Jackson Nelson, pictured here at a West Coast Eagles training session.
Josh Rotham (L) and Jackson Nelson (R) at a West Coast Eagles training session. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Rotham has been recalled for Saturday night's clash with Brisbane at the Gabba, but Nelson is one of eight West Coast players in the health and safety protocols.

Simpson is also unavailable after testing positive to Covid-19.

Addressing the furore on Friday night, Dockers coach Longmuir said players risk giving up their spot in the side if they put themselves in high-risk situations.

Longmuir said the Dockers haven't put in place any hard-and-fast rules, but had a clear message for the players.

"By going and doing things that put that at risk is their own call really," he said.

"If you do that and give up your spot in the team, you're no guarantee to come back. They understand that.

"So they make decisions according to that. I don't have ... to tell them too much. That's our stand on it."

Fremantle players have been given several days off to recharge following their 15.12 (102) to 3.6 (24) win over the Kangaroos.

The team will regroup on Tuesday ahead of next week's clash with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

West Coast 'devastated' over nightclub furore

Longmuir said he will continue to segregate the player group to ensure the Covid-19 outbreak doesn't grow.

"As soon as someone gets COVID, we do a background check of who they've been close with and who they hang out with, otherwise it can filter through the club," he said.

"As far as last week's little outbreak goes, I think we've got on top of that. Not to have a case in the last two or three days is a good sign.

"But we're always trying to make sure we segregate our groups and those who are close to cases, just so we don't get that spread.

"We try to knock it on the head really quickly and get it over and done with and make it a one-week thing. Touch wood, hopefully we've done that."

Adam Simpson, pictured here during a West Coast Eagles game.
Adam Simpson said he's devastated after players broke Covid-19 rules. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

WA recorded 10,182 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday - the first time the state had recorded more than 10,000 cases in a day.

"Given the current environment and the peak in Covid-19 cases in Perth, the club is devastated that some players opted to go out publicly as they have done," West Coast said.

"The club has gone to great lengths in educating the players around the need to adhere to club guidelines and it is beyond disappointing that they have put themselves in this situation.

"It is particularly disheartening given the strain on player availability at this stage of the season.

"At the earliest opportunity the club will meet with the players concerned."

with AAP

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