White still wanted: Cook

Thursday, June 27
Geelong Advertiser

GEELONG Football Club chief executive Brian Cook has defended Mitchell White after former Cat and Brownlow medallist Paul Couch said his time was up and that he needed to go.

The former West Coast Eagle and All-Australian was lured to Geelong with a lucrative three-year contract in 2001 but has struggled with injuries that have restricted him to just 18 games.

But Cook and the man White was recruited to replace, Barry Stoneham, have said White remained an important player at the club.

``He hasn't been on the field as much as we expected this year but he continues to make a contribution off the field with his leadership skills,'' Cook said.

``He is a player that's wanted at the club and will see out his contract.''

In his first year at the club White managed 16 games, which Cook said was about what was expected of him. But so far this season he has made just two senior appearances for limited ground time.

``With Mitchell White, given his background and history, we expected 16 games (a season) because that's about how many he's played for the past eight years,'' Cook said.

``In 2002 the expectation hasn't been met because he's been injured but that's happened to (Anthony) Koutoufides and it's happened to Brad Ottens and it's happened to Matthew Richardson

``We're hoping and we believe that he (White) can come back and play good footy.''

In his Geelong Advertiser column yesterday, Couch said the gamble on White hadn't paid off.

``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,'' Couch said.