Carlton fitness boss Andrew Russell has been told to “worry about (his) own club” after suggesting Sydney star Lance Franklin should drop weight after his hamstring injury.
Russell, who was the high performance manager at Hawthorn during Franklin’s stint at the club, revealed what he would tell the star forward if he was still under his wing.
“Clearly he’s got challenges now. My big thing if I was talking to Bud, I’d be trying to get him to drop weight,” he told Fox Footy Live.
“There might be a whole lot of other things he can do in his program, there’s a lot of subtleties. But his mobility program, flexibility program and trying to drop weight is the things I’d be trying to work on.
“Late in their career, the biggest thing guys do that prolongs their career is actually getting lighter … It is less load on their joints, less load on soft tissue structures and it helps these guys.”
However, the comments caused a stir, with Franklin’s coach John Longmire admitting that he was taken aback by Russell publicly commenting on a rival player’s fitness.
“I think most people would assume that it’s not really appropriate for people from other clubs to make public comment on players from other clubs,” he told Footy Classified.
“I think that should be a given in the industry, so it was a bit surprising that he said it.
“But I can only comment on what I’ve seen – and that he (Franklin) has been in great condition.
“I don’t think he’s looked better in the last three times he’s come back from injury and this was no different.”
Veteran AFL columnist Caroline Wilson suggested that Carlton CEO Cain Liddle would have pulled up Russell on giving advice to a player from a rival team.
While admitting that it is not unusual for players to remain in touch with previous coaches, Kane Cornes suggested that Russell should focus on the health issues of forward duo Mitch McGovern and Charlie Curnow before assessing rivals.
“You’ve got to be careful when you criticise other clubs and other clubs’ medical teams, which is what Andrew Russell is doing,” he said.
“I think Hawthorn had a strategy around Andrew Russell where they didn’t allow him to do a lot of media and he was always behind the scenes. It wasn’t a bad strategy to keep him locked away and they were able to keep him with a lower profile.
“At Carlton, clearly they are putting him out there which is good and we like that.
“But when you criticise other teams and their players, they might turn back and say, ‘Well you’ve let Charlie Curnow play basketball and that’s ruined his knee’ or Mitch McGovern turning up Round 1 last year and being overweight.
“So worry about your own club, worry about you winning games before you criticise.”
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