The sole survivor of West Coast’s last premiership says the Eagles are determined not to let allegations of the club’s old playing culture be a distraction ahead of Saturday’s grand final.
Defender Sam Butler says stories of a drug-fuelled culture at the Eagles in 2006 – prompted by an interview with former player Daniel Chick – has been addressed by the current playing group.
“We discussed it briefly as a group and it’s not going to change our focus,” Butler said at the grand final parade on Friday.
“Daniel Chick was a great teammate of mine, I have no ill-will towards him.
“The only disappointment is if the boys get distracted by it.”
The club’s hierarchy have made clear its displeasure with both the content and timing of the reports.
Butler, who was in his third year when the Eagles memorably triumphed over Sydney by a point, said he hadn’t bothered to read the reports but refuted the suggestion the Eagles were a rotten club.
He said talk of a total revolution taking place at the club was overblown, evidenced by long-serving staff that had kept their roles from one generation to another.
“We didn’t have to change a lot, we’ve got some great people around the club – people that were still back there, still in their positions now,” he said.
“It’s not like we had to change everyone’s mindset on how to be an AFL player, we just had to tinker with a few things.”
The 29-year-old said returning to the grand final parade for the first time in almost a decade was bringing back fond memories.
“The one thing that stuck with me is when you first run out, the wall of sound is something I’ve never experienced before or since,” he said.
“It’s been a really nice experience to relive it and know I can look back and be a bit more confident about it.”
“I can’t wait to run out there and dig in.”