MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 21: Shannon Hurn of the Eagles leads the team out with Luke Shuey (R) during the round five AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the West Coast Eagles at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 21, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

West Coast Eagles captain Shannon Hurn concedes the club has mismanaged some issues this season, but affirms the team’s culture is strong.

The Eagles’ culture has been a topic of discussion through the past fortnight following several controversial flashpoints in recent months.

The incident where club integrity officer Peter Staples was overly aggressive toward two cameramen for filming Nic Naitanui at Perth Airport received negative media attention, with the Eagles also criticised for taking almost a week to apologise.

Police are conducting ongoing investigations into Liam Ryan’s early morning car crash in July, while midfielder Andrew Gaff has been in hot water after famously punching Docker Andrew Brayshaw during a heated encounter.

Rookie ruckman Tony Olango is facing assault charges stemming from an incident that occurred the day before he was drafted to the club.

Eagles players have fared incredibly well with the several off-field distractions, with the side on the cusp of finishing in the top two.

“Sometimes when you have a couple of things happen in a row, people go, “Oh it’s a pattern, it’s an issue’,” Hurn told The Herald. 

“We would have loved to have handled the airport stuff better, and Gaffy wishes he wouldn’t have done what he did.

“I understand why people say there’s an issue. But I don’t think there is.

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“We’ve got players and people at the club who want to do the right thing, and want to set the example, which I’m really happy about.”

Hurn is fully aware what a poor club culture looks like, having arrived at the end of 2005, when the Eagles started on a downward spiral.

The club then journeyed toward cultural change soon after, and Hurn has been a major factor in enforcing heightened standards and stern principles since taking over the captaincy in 2015.

“For me, culture is what you do when people aren’t looking, or when you’re away from the club,” Hurn said.
“It’s very easy when you’ve got 40 players around you and someone says, ‘Pick up that rubbish’.
“Everyone does it, because you’re there. But it’s about what you do in your own time.
“Along the way you might have a slip-up or a mistake, but I think in general we do a pretty good job.”