Former Western Bulldogs star Adam Cooney has revealed he never wanted to leave the club, but the circumstances surrounding him and coach Brendan McCartney left him with no choice.
Cooney had a falling out with McCartney during the 2014 season, and was forced to plead with him in order to remain on the Bulldogs’ list beyond that year.
The 2008 Brownlow Medallist says he approached club president Peter Gordon regarding the issues between the playing group and McCartney, but the conversation ultimately fell on deaf ears.
Gordon’s decision to back McCartney led to the departure of both Cooney (to Essendon) and club captain Ryan Griffen (to Greater Western Sydney).
“I had a meeting with Peter Gordon after that (meeting with McCartney) and Ryan Griffen was in a similar boat,” Cooney told This is Your Sporting Life for Tobin Brothers – celebrating lives.
“I had a meeting with Gordon and laid it all out on the table about the young players, how the senior group were feeling and how I didn’t think (McCartney) was the right man for the job going forward.
“I was at the Brownlow on the Monday night, I talked to him for about half-an-hour, told him everything that was happening at the club and about how everyone was feeling.
“He said: ‘ok – look – thanks for telling me, it’s great that you’ve told me this, I want to follow it up, I’ll give you a call and then we’ll go over it’.
“I didn’t hear back from Gordon and I thought at that stage – wow – I’ve fallen on my sword here.
“I rang my manager and said: ‘look, this is the situation, obviously my time at the Dogs has finished up’.
“Ryan Griffen was in the same boat, he had a meeting with the board at that stage and explained everything that was happening at the football club.
“He heard back from the football club and they said that they’re going to back (Brendan McCartney) in to be the coach going forward.
“Griffen said: ‘well, it looks like I’m going to have to leave as well’.”
“The club backed Brendan McCartney – which is fine – but that forced me out and it forced Ryan Griffen out.”
Cooney indicated he never wanted to leave the Western Bulldogs and planned on finishing his career at the Whitten Oval.
“I get a lot of abuse from Western Bulldogs supporters because they thought I wasn’t loyal to the football club and that I walked out on the club when things were really tough,” Cooney added.
“If they wanted to back him in – that’s fine – but we had to leave after that. I didn’t want to leave, I played at the club for 11 years and I wanted to finish my career as a Western Bulldogs player.
“What I did was try and help the group out, which I thought was the best thing going forward, they backed in the coach, but that was the end of my career at the Western Bulldogs.
“They didn’t back me in after what I said, so I had to leave, they did the same thing with Ryan Griffen and he had to leave.
“We didn’t want to leave, it was the situation and the circumstance that we tried our best.
“It seems like I’m having a massive crack at Brendan McCartney, but he just wasn’t the right man for the group.”
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Listen to Adam Cooney’s chat on This is Your Sporting Life with Peter Donegan in the player below, thanks to Tobin Brothers: