Burns could take reins at Port: Cox
Burns could take reins at Port: Cox

West Coast assistant Scott Burns would make a fantastic senior coach if he decided to throw his hat in the ring to turn around a beleaguered Port Adelaide, says ruckman Dean Cox.

Burns, a South Australian who played 264 games for Collingwood, has firmed as a potential candidate for the coaching role vacated by Matthew Primus at the Power.

His name was yesterday touted among a list of potential candidates including former Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade, dual Adelaide premiership ruckman Shaun Rehn and Hawthorn assistant Leon Cameron.

Burns, the Eagles midfield coach, applied for the Adelaide position late last year but lost out to Brenton Sanderson.

Following his pitch to the Crows, he said he wasn't ready for being a senior coach.

The former Magpies midfielder has since coached West Coast's emerging on-ball brigade to new highs in the first half of the season, overseeing the rapid development of Scott Selwood, Andrew Gaff and Chris Masten, and Cox said he was a "ripper" to work under.

"His knowledge of the game is fantastic," the big Eagle said.

"He really develops players as quickly as possible. His interaction with senior, junior and younger players is first class.

"I couldn't speak highly enough of him. Whenever the position arises, whenever he decides to coach at senior level, I think he's going to make a fantastic coach."

The eventual choice has a mountain to climb. Port are mired in financial turmoil and have won just eight games in two seasons.

Cox said only Burns would know if he was ready to take up the challenge now.

"It's such a ruthless game," Cox said. "You don't want to jump into anything too soon because you can get spat out very quickly."

Teammate Josh Hill has played under three of the leading candidates in Cameron, Burns and Eade.

Cameron would be his pick. An assistant with premiership favourites Hawthorn, Cameron spent seven seasons at the Western Bulldogs in a similar role and spent time mentoring Hill.

"I think Leon Cameron could definitely be up there," Hill said.

"The way he was with me, he was very good one-on-one.

"He helped me through a lot of tough times at the Bulldogs, with a lot of homesickness.

"He was always someone I'd feel close to talk to. He just seems like one of those coaches who is really down to earth and you can talk to about whatever."

Hill spent all of his five seasons at the Dogs under Eade and said he was "definitely a good coach".

The West Australian

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