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Hurn more settled as West Coast captain

Rhys Dickinson  February 15, 2016 4:45 PM

Shannon Hurn has been setting high training standards this pre-season

Shannon Hurn has been setting high training standards this pre-season

It would be an understatement to say Shannon Hurn’s first year as captain of the West Coast Eagles was a baptism of fire. 

Hurn was undoubtedly aware his appointment would garner a lot attention given the team’s top job had been filled by club stalwart Darren Glass for the previous six seasons, but he probably hoped the situation would settle once the initial hype died down. 

Unfortunately for Hurn, but fortunately for the club, West Coast’s meteoric rise as premiership contenders meant he was unable to avoid the spotlight – fronting both enthusiastic and doubtful media with regularity as a spokesperson for a team that had caught much of the competition off-guard. 

Speaking ahead of the club’s first NAB Challenge game on Sunday, Hurn said he was finally feeling more at ease in the leadership role. 

“I suppose you just feel more comfortable with how everything goes,” he said. 

“Initially there are a lot of things that happen and you get involved with and you don’t know how to deal with them. There are just a lot more commitments.  Now you understand what’s going on. You put a couple things in place that you like and get your message across to the players and now all that stuff flows in and now it’s just about checking on things. You feel more comfortable as time goes on.” 

Hurn acknowledges the nature of season 2015 forced him to ascend an already steep learning curve quicker than most, but even that did not prepare him to comfort his comrades following the Eagle’s frustrating Grand Final defeat to Hawthorn. 

“It was tough for everyone. When you play footy you play to win and ideally, yes, you want to win a premiership,” Hurn said. 

“We had that opportunity and it didn’t go our way.” 

Fortunately for the man affectionately known as Bunga around Eagles HQ, he possesses something that cannot be coached, nor learned: an ability to lead by example. 

By picking himself up, dusting himself off and hitting the training track with renewed vigour, Hurn has dragged his teammates out of the dark and got them ready for a new season which presents West Coast an opportunity to showcase its talent, tenacity and desire to become a force to be reckoned with.

“You can’t sit around and sulk about it,” Hurn said of the Grand Final loss.

“The thing that sets people apart and teams apart is if you get up and do something about it. The players have looked after themselves during the break, come back a bit fitter, they’re using the ball better and understand they can play better footy. I think we’ll be ok.”