Don't waste a crisis: Langer to Eagles

Justin Langer has urged the West Coast Eagles to make the most of a tumultuous time for sport.
Justin Langer has urged the West Coast Eagles to make the most of a tumultuous time for sport.

West Coast board member Justin Langer has urged the AFL club he loves not to waste a crisis as uncertainty continues to cloud the 2020 season.

Langer learned plenty about crisis management and the power of positivity in 2018, having started his tenure as national coach amid the wreckage of the Cape Town cheating scandal that rocked Cricket Australia and the team itself.

The former Test opener admits that Australian cricket's tumult is "nothing (compared) to the extent of what's happening in the world at the moment" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, there are lessons that can arguably be applied as the Eagles start to attack an immense challenge on and off the park.

Langer was part of West Coast's board meeting on the Friday before their season-opening win, while he addressed players the following day.

Come Sunday, when the Eagles defeated Melbourne, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan had given up hope of playing football behind closed doors and accepted shutdown was the only option.

"I basically just talked about leadership, how much the game means to so many people. Often when you're in the bubble, you forget what an impact you can have," Langer told SEN on Wednesday, when asked about his words to players.

"I was also able to talk about being in a crisis.

"Australian cricket faced - nothing to this extent of what's happening in the world at the moment - but how you get through crises.

"And not wasting the opportunity.

"This is a crisis of huge magnitude. So we've got to make sure we don't waste this crisis, that's the sort of thing I spoke to the footy club about a few weeks ago."

Langer's family has felt the impact of the current financial climate, with three of his four daughters losing their jobs.

The 49-year-old noted "sympathy is an understatement' regarding how he feels about AFL players, club staff and people across society doing it tough.

Langer suggested the Eagles' board meeting prior to the shutdown proved an eye-opening experience.

"West Coast Eagles is one of the quite secure clubs and it was incredibly sobering," he said.

"I was blown away by the ramifications."

Cricket Australia was set to announce its 2020-21 national contract list this week, but that is now expected to happen later in April as the governing body maps out contingency plans for the coming summer.

Australian Associated Press