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Players, coaches "don't want to go": AFL greats savage Port's China strategy

Football

Paul Roos has blasted the logistics for the historic AFL match in China, saying no player or coach involved would want to go.

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Fellow commentator Wayne Carey added if Port Adelaide lost this Sunday and miss the finals as a result, the project is a massive fail for them.

Roos and Carey were commenting after Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade spoke of the challenges the trip was presenting for the Suns.

Sunday’s Shanghai match between Port and the Suns will be the first AFL match for premiership points outside Australia or New Zealand.

Eade said the prospect of smog means they will not take players with respiratory problems.

He added the lack of a direct flight meant the Suns would travel for about 20 hours.

But Roos reacted most strongly when Eade revealed some Gold Coast player would not travel in business class.

“By the very nature of what it is called, we have players going to do their business in another country,” Roos told TripleM.

“It’s called business class, so for those people out there saying ‘they’re precious’, or whatever, all we’re saying is this group of players are going to perform what they’re paid to do… it’s ridiculous.”

Asked what chance he gave Gold Coast, Roos then replied “zero”.

“I don’t want to put words in Rocket’s mouth, but do any of us not think that wasn’t an angry coach talking about going and playing in China?” he said.

“If you ask – honestly – every player and every coach of both those teams, they wouldn’t want to go.”

Carey also cast doubts on Port Adelaide’s enthusiasm to play in China.

“If Port Adelaide miss the finals because they lose this game in China, then this has been a massive, massive, massive fail for Port Adelaide and I don’t care how much money they make out of it,” he said.

Earlier, Eade had said the risk of smog meant they could make team changes.

Hot conditions are forecast for the clash.

“That smog you talk about, hopefully there are no respiratory problems,” Eade said.

“We won’t take any players who have asthma or some respiratory problems anyway.”

Eade said the Suns would know about any team changes on Tuesday, but would not specify which players might be affected.

“We’ll keep that quiet and see how it goes,” he said.

Eade initially bit his tongue when asked about the trip.

“I have to (toe) the political line, don’t I – ‘we’re looking forward to it’,” he said.

“It’s great for the game, to be able to play away and all those sorts of things… just, you can’t get a direct flight there.”

Both Port and the Suns have the bye after the Shanghai game.

-AAP

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