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The Roar


AFL News: WA great quits newspaper gig over Harley Reid article censor, huge blow for Cats star confirmed

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27th February, 2024
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Former West Coast great Peter Sumich has walked away from his weekly column with the West Australian newspaper.

As reported by News Corp, Sumich, who has become a polarising media pundit after retiring following a decorated 514-goal, two-premiership career with the Eagles, has claimed his decision to quit was fuelled by the paper’s refusal to publish an article criticising No.1 draft pick Harley Reid.

“I’m not writing for the West anymore,” Sumich told the Herald Sun.

“I wanted to put this article in and they reckon I was too harsh… it was on Harley Reid, I gave the kid a pump-up and said he is going to be a good player but everyone is carrying on like he’s going to be Chris Judd.

“I put down, he is no Chris Judd. I was there when Chris Judd was there and what I saw of Chris Judd in his first two or three years, this kid doesn’t even compare to Chris Judd so I don’t know why people are carrying on.

“The kid is going to be a good player, don’t get me wrong, but you are no Chris Judd mate.”

According to Sumich, his description of the 18-year old prodigy as having ‘puppy fat’ may have contributed to the paper’s decision to knock back the column.

“I said he has got a little bit of puppy fat and he needs to tidy up this and that but that was it,” he said.


“Other than that I pumped the kid up, there wasn’t anything disastrous or bad.”

Reid has been a regular in the sports pages throughout Western Australian media since the Eagles claimed him with their prized first pick in last year’s draft, having been regarded throughout the season as the undisputed top player of his class.

(Photo by MEGA/GC Images)

Cats star’s huge blow on season eve as quad injury confirmed

Geelong premiership hero Cameron Guthrie’s horror run with injuries has continued, with a quad injury to delay his start to 2024.

Guthrie, who shared the Cats’ best and fairest with Jeremy Cameron in their 2022 flag-winning season, sustained the injury in the opening six seconds of their trial match against Carlton last week.

He is expected to miss 8-10 weeks, a bitter blow for the 31-year old coming off a 2023 season where he failed to feature after Round 6 due to a serious toe injury.


Cam is the ultimate professional who will attack his rehab diligently with the support of our medical team and we look forward to having back on the field in the early part of the season,” Cats football manager Andrew Mackie said in a statement.

Guthrie’s absence will once again force coach Chris Scott to find a solution to a threadbare midfield which caused all manner of issues as the Cats slumped from premiers to missing the finals in 2023, with Joel Selwood having retired at the end of 2022 and Patrick Dangerfield nearing the end of his glittering career.

The midfield load looks likely to be placed on the shoulders of young guns Tanner Bruhn and Jhye Clark, with fellow promising youngster Max Holmes successfully trialled at half-back throughout the pre-season.


Cameron Guthrie is set to miss the first two months of the AFL season. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Tigers skipper in doubt for Round 1 as journeyman recruit waits in wings

Richmond captain Toby Nankervis concedes he’s no certainty to be fit for an AFL opening-round clash with former coach Damien Hardwick’s Gold Coast as he battles a foot injury.


Like key forward Tom Lynch (foot), Nankervis is battling to feature in the season’s early rounds and won’t play in Tuesday’s practice match against Collingwood.

It opens the door for former Swan Sam Naismith, who could become the feel-good story of the summer by capping off his AFL career lifeline with a Tigers debut.

“I’ll have my big session (on Tuesday). It’s sort of session-to-session at the moment,” Nankervis said on Monday.

“So hopefully I can get through that and pull up well and hopefully play early in the season.

“Sam Naismith and Samson Ryan have both had great summers. They’ve done most of the work. So we’re in a great spot in that department I think. If that happens, I’ll be rapt for big Sammy.

“He’s a great person and he’s had some hardship, but he’s been playing some great footy as well.”


Naismith, 31, whose Sydney career was ruined by three knee reconstructions, signed in November after a strong VFL season at Port Melbourne.

“He’s very determined, very competitive and he wants to play AFL footy,” Nankervis said. That’s the reality of it, he’s not here to play VFL footy so he’s doing whatever he can.”

Nankervis couldn’t put a firm timeline on when Lynch, whose 2023 was ruined by a broken foot, would return. “He’s training a lot at the moment,” he said.

Toby Nankervis looks on

Toby Nankervis (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“There’s no rush with Lynchy. Obviously we want him to play every game but when he’s back we want him to be back for the whole season.

“So I’m not sure – early parts of the season I’m hearing, but I’m not sure what round.”

Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin is poised to have more midfield minutes this season, after spending more time up forward last year.


He will join the likes of Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper and Dion Prestia in the thick of things.

“He’s trained in summer in that part of the ground but we know he’s really dangerous up forward as well. So I’m sure he’ll play a bit of both,” Nankervis said.

“It’s a real strength of our group, the depth in the midfield that we’ve got. Thomson Dow as well, he’s had a great summer and Dion is a star of the competition.

“We’ve got so much depth there which we probably hadn’t had over the last couple of years so hopefully everyone can stay injury-free and really attack that part of the game.”

Demons ’embarrassed’ by AFL finals failures, says Gawn

Melbourne’s AFL finals futility is embarrassing captain Max Gawn and it’s something he’s determined to fix.

Even setting aside the issues in the Demons’ turbulent off-season, this year is massive given how badly their last two campaigns have ended.


After winning the 2021 premiership, Melbourne have lost their last four finals for two straight-sets exits – and all four have been at their MCG home.

“It’s our own storyline of losing four finals in a row, is why we want to prove something,” Gawn said on Monday.

“We have put ourselves in some great positions – which I love, the fact that we’ve put ourselves in those positions. Top four is incredibly hard to do.

Angus Brayshaw, Christian Salem and Max Gawn of the Demons look dejected after losing

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“But we’ve sort-of been embarrassed on the final stage four times at the MCG, twice against sides that aren’t from Melbourne.

“That’s what we want to prove to our supporters and to those (externally), that we have improved over this last little bit. We have looked at those finals and it’s something we want to get right.”

A massive issue over the last few months has been the off-field struggles of star onballer Clayton Oliver. He showed encouraging signs last week in a hit-out against Richmond, but Gawn said it remains too soon to say whether Oliver will play in their March 7 season opener against Sydney.


“Clayton Oliver is day-by-day, round zero being (10) days away … it’s still too far away,” Gawn said. “He’s training really well. He played a pretty-good three quarters against Richmond the other day, he’ll play another four quarters this week against Carlton, I think in the VFL.

“Then we’ll sit down with Clayton as a group and talk about how he’s going. I want to set Clayton up for an unbelievable season and I want to set Clayton up for the rest of his life.”

with AAP