Demons lose key forward to Bombers
Perth president Adrian Barich has admitted he has mixed feelings on the AFL mid-season draft after Demons forward Jaiden Hunter was picked up by Essendon last night.
Hunter has battled injury issues since missing out on the 2020 draft, including missing all of last season due to an ACL injury, but was taken by the Bombers with the ninth pick due to his red-hot form this year, kicking 23 goals across six league and reserves games.
Barich told Sports Breakfast he was delighted for the 21-year-old but frustrated to be losing a key player halfway through the season.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Barich said.
“On Saturday, it was funny because (Essendon list manager) Adrian Dodoro was down there, so I knew exactly what was happening, and of course Jaiden goes on and kicks five. If there was any doubt, it was gone by the end of that match.
“He’s a super talent. He should’ve been in the AFL but he did his ACL as a young fella … he’s just a great fella and it’s great to see him have an opportunity.”
“The only thing I don’t understand, and this is not about Jaiden, but philosophically, the mid-season draft’s supposed to be about drafting blokes who can help you towards the end of the year … and it seems like a lot of the players getting drafted now, they aren’t doing that, the clubs are trying to jump the gun.”
Peter German’s side picked up their second win for the year with a shock 4-point win over South Fremantle on Saturday, with Barich saying the legendary coach was leading a turnaround at the club.
“Those changerooms at South Fremantle, the away rooms, they’re not super, let’s be honest … they’re terrible when you lose, but when you win, they’re fantastic, because everyone piles in there,” he said.
“All the Demons people just stormed into the rooms after the game, Peter Bousustow, Bryan Cousins, Mickey Garbin, all our people were just in there and that happy.
“Germo was just waxing lyrical. If I can paint the picture, he was just going off about the game … great scenes.”
Perth’s venue-sharing arrangement at Mineral Resources Park with West Coast and their recent struggles on the field have seen them floated as a potential alignment partner for the Eagles’ struggling WAFL side, but Barich said he thought more list concessions would be a better solution to boost their competitiveness.
“I think when the other clubs went into [an alignment], they needed to do it. I think East Perth would admit they were (in danger), so they probably thought that was their way out,” he said.
“To be fair, I think they’ve got a million bucks in the bank now because of that alignment, so whilst some people say it didn’t work for them or it hurt their culture or the fabric of the club, they’ve certainly future-proofed the joint.
“We have a good cash resource, there’s no imperative for us to be involved in that area. We wouldn’t be exploring it.
“The only thing I would say is that there are some synergies, co-branding and stuff, that we could do with West Coast because we’re in the same facilities.”
The Demons will look to continue their winning form when they host Claremont at Mineral Resources Park on Saturday, with the game getting underway at 2:10 pm.
PHOTO: The West Australian.