The AFL world is coming down on two-time All-Australian Elliot Yeo for his lacklustre performance in West Coast’s 84-point loss to Port Adelaide, with the midfielder “clearly out of shape” according to former Port Adelaide star Kane Cornes.
Yeo has become the poster boy for West Coast’s woes this season, with the club struggling to get continuity with their squad with several injuries rocking the team, plus a raft of players missing games due to health and safety protocols, having already used 41 players with only three playing all six games so far this year.
West Coast is currently sitting 17th on the AFL ladder, claiming just one victory in the opening six weeks of the season.
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They could only manage four goals during the one-sided round six annihilation and Yeo’s contribution, on top of his appearance, came into sharp focus.
Cornes was especially critical about how Yeo “presented himself” at Adelaide Oval on the weekend.
“I’m really aware of the fact you can’t label an AFL player overweight now for the backlash that will come with that, but I was watching Elliot Yeo’s performance on the weekend and his lack of impact in the game,” Cornes said on Nine’s Footy Classified.
“His standards have slipped at West Coast … I reckon across the board standards have slipped and he shouldn’t be playing if he presents like that.
“That could be one of the reasons West Coast are in the position they’re in.
“He is always injured. He has to get fitter.
“I think some players can present as full-time athletes, when their body is their one tool, better than they have … he looked out of shape to me.
“We used to call it ‘fat club’ (at Port Adelaide) if you’re above 60 skin folds. Once you get into the AFL system your body is your only weapon. You have to hold yourself to elite standards.”
Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd agreed: “You’re a full-time professional, so you can stay that fit even if you’re not playing AFL football.”
Body-shaming has been tackled by the AFL, with the league outlawing skinfold tests for draft prospects at the end of last season.
However, other commentators noticed Yeo’s lack of spark during the game before he eventually exited a frustrated figure, coming to the bench and throwing his mouthguard to the ground before taking a seat.
“What happened to Elliot Yeo?” AFL great Johnathan Brown asked about Fox Footy. “I’m a big fan of Elliot, I played with him as a teammate and he was an up and coming star at Brisbane before he went to West Coast. I’m concerned though.
“We haven’t seen the real Elliot Yeo for the better part of three years now.”
The 28-year-old has been plagued with injury over the last few years, coming off his latest issue, a calf problem, in February.
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The midfielder has played just 23 games of AFL since 2020, with injury keeping him out of the team.
Yeo was part of the West Coast team that won the premiership in 2018, and finished that year with a second consecutive John Worsfold Medal.
He carried his 2018 form into the next season, selected in the 2019 All-Australian team on the bench. But it’s been downhill since then, with Yeo rarely seen on the field because of injury.
He played 10 games in 2020 but then fell victim to an osteitis pubis problem which kept him out the rest of the year.
His form came under fire last season from Garry Lyon for not showing enough urgency and intent during Shannon Hurn’s 300th game. He was also involved in a heated exchange with teammate Jeremy McGovern during a shock loss to North Melbourne.
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