Russell Gibbs has affirmed his support for the West Coast Eagles' chief executive of 23 years as the club endures a horror start to its 2022 season.
West Coast failed to make finals last year, finishing ninth in the home-and-away season, and endured a series of significant mishaps over the off-season including public fallout over senior player Jack Darling’s hesitancy to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
A series of injuries has cruelled the team’s on-field performance throughout first eight rounds of this year, in which the club has managed just one win, against Collingwood in Melbourne.
Controversy has continued off the field, too, with seven players last week fined after violating the club’s COVID-19 protocols in attending a nightclub in Leederville.
That incident was labelled 'disappointing' by coach Adam Simpson.
With the club now at the bottom of the ladder and boasting the lowest percentage in the league, calls have escalated for the Eagles to undertake a rebuild, with one local media personality training his fire on chief executive Trevor Nisbett earlier in the week.
Mr Gibbs, club chair since 2016, has telegraphed little enthusiasm for such a move, though, using a letter to members today to praise Mr Nisbett for having done a 'wonderful job' leading the club since 1999.
“As a club we are aware of the challenges ahead and what needs to be done to address them,” he said.
“We absolutely support Trevor and his staff as they continue to give their all to our club during this time.”
Mr Gibbs also voiced his support for Simpson, who is contracted with the club until 2024 but could face pressure with the likes of former Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson on the market.
Clarkson has been mentioned as a possibility to coach Port Adelaide, Greater Western Sydney Giants or Gold Coast Suns in 2023.
“Along with his assistants, support staff and players, I can assure you that they are both realistic about what needs to be done and are also determined to work extremely hard to ensure our team is set up for sustained future success,” he said.
Latest financial data indicates West Coast Eagles turned a profit of $7.2 million in 2021, a stark improvement from 2020 flowing on from the club hosting home games in front of crowds.
Eagles play Melbourne this Sunday at Optus Stadium.