West Coast coach Adam Simpson says he wouldn’t be surprised if rival AFL clubs attempt to lure Dean Cox out of retirement, but he hopes the star ruckman stays in the Eagles’ nest.
Cox is keen to embark on a full-time coaching career next year, but West Coast are no guarantee to retain his services.
The 33-year-old is set to explore his options at the end of the season before deciding on which club to link up with.
Earlier this week, Collingwood dismissed suggestions they would consider luring Cox their way in a playing-coaching role.
And it appears unlikely Cox would entertain the prospect in any case, with the 289-game veteran saying he has no regrets about his decision to retire.
Cox will play his final home game in Saturday night’s clash with Melbourne at Patersons Stadium, but Simpson hopes the star veteran will stay with the Eagles in an off-field role for some time to come.
“I’ve got no doubt there’s clubs that are talking to him about probably playing as well as coaching,” Simpson said on Friday.
“That’s a decision he’s got to work through, but we’re hoping he stays in the family.
“He’s retiring for a reason. Hopefully he doesn’t decide to (play on at a rival club), but that’s his call.”
Emotions are set to run high when Cox runs out onto Patersons Stadium for the final time.
The six-time All-Australian announced his decision to retire a month ago, and the tributes have flown in ever since.
“I’ve probably seen five Cox videos already in the last six weeks. It’s like the Johnny Farnham tour at the moment,” Simpson said with a laugh.
“We’ll do something special for him (on Saturday night) and hopefully we can have a win.
“He’s excited. He’s like a 15 year old. I can’t stop his enthusiasm.
“It’s been there for the whole year since the first day that I got here.
“He’s the heartbeat of our playing group.”
If West Coast finishes eighth and Fremantle finishes fifth, Cox will get one last chance to strut his stuff in Perth in what would be an elimination final of blockbuster proportions.
But for the Eagles to make the finals, they need to beat Melbourne and Gold Coast, plus rely on a host of other results to fall their way.