West Coast would hand back its 2006 AFL premiership if it meant some drug-abusing players were healthy again, chief executive Trevor Nisbett says.
A number of the the Eagles’ premiership side from 10 years ago have since battled drug problems, most notably former captain Ben Cousins, Daniel Chick and Daniel Kerr.
“If you could roll it all back, give back the premiership and say that all our players were fit and well and healthy and we still have Ben (Cousins) having a normal life, we’d give it back tomorrow,” Nisbett told Nine Network’s The Footy Show on Thursday night.
Cousins was sacked by the Eagles after the 2007 season as his drug addiction worsened.
His ex-teammate Chick has told of widespread use of cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine during his time at the club, while Kerr has also spoken of his drug use.
Other members of the Eagles’ 2006 flag-winning side have also faced drugs charges: Adam Hunter was fined $400 for possessing cocaine in February 2014 and Chad Fletcher was charged for possessing cocaine in early 2010, after almost dying in mysterious circumstance in Las Vegas in 2006 while celebrating the Eagles’ flag.
Premiership ruckman Dean Cox wrote in his autobiography that the numbers of Eagles players using drugs in the mid-2000s was in “double figures”.
West Coast’s then-chairman Dalton Gooding said club hierarchy originally believed only a few players were using illicit drugs.
But Gooding said a club planning meeting in Broome in November 2006 revealed the extent of the problem.
“Initially we thought there was only a minority,” Gooding told The Footy Show.
“But what came out in Broome in 2006 it wasn’t the case … it was a lot more people than we thought.”
The Eagles’ 2006 premiership captain Chris Judd denied the flag was tainted because of drugs.
“I feel genuine sympathy for the players and their families who have had some battles since,” Judd told The Footy Show.
“But the overriding emotion is of pride of what that group was able to achieve.”