Time to go

Wednesday, June 26

LET'S be honest: the Mitchell White gamble hasn't paid off.

I thought it would, having played against the bloke and knowing what type of person he is. He seemed the answer to the forward line woes when Barry Stoneham was on the verge of retiring.

He seemed the logical choice to play centre half-forward. He was a leading player who had great aerobic capacity, when he was fit.

And of course, ``fit'' is the operative word.

Remembering that he hardly played the year before he was recruited from West Coast, getting him was always a bit of a worry.

Mitchell was an All-Australian, and those are pretty good credentials. Only the top five per cent climb that high.

Obviously Brian Cook had a big hand in coercing White to here, knowing that White's personality and ability would suit the Cats down to the ground.

Maybe now is the time to confront this situation.

Certainly there seems to be something in the air with Lockett finally facing reality, Schwass calling it a day and the Swans asking questions of the value of Nick Daffy.

Since he's been here, White has hardly fulfilled the role the Geelong club had envisaged.

The cold hard stats tell us he's played 18 games in a season and a half for 17 goals. Even worse, this year it's been just two appearances for one goal.

His body just doesn't seem to be able to cope with the rigours of league footy anymore. It's happened over and over again.

Paul Lynch springs to mind: a great player, just a terrible back problem.

There are a few problems here that have to be solved to everyone's satisfaction.

Mitchell White's salary package must have been lucrative to even get him across the Nullabor. He's got another year to run on his contract. Does the club keep going down the same road?

Surely it must be an embarrassing situation for him and the club. He's an honest guy, continuing to be paid well and not being able to perform must be weighing on his mind.

These days football is big business. Brian Cook, loyal or not to his former Eagle player, still has to look at the bottom line. So does the board.

So how does the club resolve it to everyone's satisfaction?

It's obvious to us all now - Bomber couldn't have made it clearer - that the emphasis is on youth.

Mitchell White is 29. While it's not old in terms of football, he's no spring chicken either and his body just isn't coping, which is unfortunate.

The time must be fast approaching where White and the club sit down and figure out how to part on terms that leaves everybody happy.

All of us who work understand where White is coming from. He's got responsibilities outside of football like everyone else. He has to put food on the table like any Dad.

But his time is up.