AFL commentator Kane Cornes has been labelled a “wet blanket” for criticising Essendon’s decision to allow more than 30 of their players to head overseas on a footy trip.
The players, including out-of-contract captain Dyson Heppell, flew out of Melbourne on Saturday headed for Spain, with reports only players booked for surgery/recently undergoing surgery missing the vacation.
Cornes was not impressed with the call to “allow” the squad to travel together “unsupervised”.
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“The only successful thing the Essendon players have planned this year is a footy trip,” he said on the Sunday Footy Show.
“A large scale footy trip – I thought were extinct about 10 years ago!
“Clubs really dislike and advise their players not to do trips like this because the risk you are to get yourself into trouble.
“I think it’s a risk with no coach or chaperone going with them.
“I would have thought a better use of Essendon players’ time would be to be at Marvel yesterday for Essendon’s historic AFLW performance, or to be at the MCG next week to see Collingwood and Geelong – two big clubs – going at it in a final that Essendon hasn’t been exposed to.”
Sydney’s AFL players formed a guard of honour for their AFLW team on Saturday, while the majority of West Coast’s players were spotted at the WAFL to support their teammates – despite now being on leave.
Fellow Sunday Footy Show panellist Nathan Brown immediately shot down Cornes’ criticism.
“Geez, you are a wet blanket,” he said.
“They’ve had a hard year – they deserve to be able to go away and clear their minds.
“You can’t tell an adult male what they can and can’t do, where they can and can’t go.
“They need to be able to go away, enjoy each other’s company away from the highlight of football and AFL media in Melbourne.
“I think you’re barking up the wrong tree.
“You’ve got to be able to trust your players I reckon.”
Cornes, who has previously criticised Bombers players for being too happy after a heavy loss, said clubs should be able to pull the pin on such large-scale trips.
And he found support in Bombers great Matthew Lloyd.
“I understand his point – I think some clubs wouldn’t allow for 30 to 35 blokes to jump on a plane together and go overseas,” he said.
Cornes has previously said he is not a fan of players heading unsupervised overseas, and labelled Collingwood “stupid” for their decision to allow Jordan de Goey to head to Bali in the Mid-Season break.
De Goey was later caught up in controversy when video of him partying made its way onto social media.
7NEWS reports Essendon’s group are heading overseas to go to a wedding.
The Bombers finished 15th this season with just seven wins, while the club currently sits in turmoil without a coach, CEO or number of board members who have all departed in recent days.