Coaching Carousel and Crowd Control

Two big issues in the AFL this week, so big, so contenscious, so mind-blowingly massive that we need two writers to bang their heads against the wall. MV and JW with you for this article, where we will take a look at the current coaching situation in the AFL surrounding Rodney Eade, the Western Bulldogs, Mick Malthouse, Adelaide and also Melbourne. We will also delve into the now large issue of crowd management and whether Collingwood fans are the correct fans to take centre stage in this fight.

The most recent coach to join the scrapheap is Rodney Eade, who for the last seven years has been at the helm of the Western Bulldogs. David Smorgon, the Bulldogs president, famously said at the beginning of the season that a pass mark would a reaching the Grand Final. Eade has taken the Bulldogs to the Preliminary Finals three times, however the team has never made it over that final hurdle and many thought that, once again, this could be the year that they made it. Oh how wrong we all were!

Eade isn’t the only coach that is now finding himself out of his club – Neil Craig and Dean Bailey are also gone and Mick Malthouse is neither gone or coaching. So let’s take a sneak peek into what we believe will be happening in the lives of these men when the next season rolls around.

Rodney Eade

There is no question that Eade is still a good coach and can definitely still serve a team looking for a man with experience at coaching the senior level. He has already declared that he wants to coach next season. Melbourne could be his destination, however he will have to battle between the likes the Brenton Sanderson and Leon Cameron.

Neil Craig

Has been approached by the Brisbane Lions to join them in a coaching director sort of role. Would be a great addition to Michael Voss and his team and this could be his only chance to be in a coaches box next season. It is worth noting that he wasn’t sacked by the Crows, he resigned, however it was inevitable either way.

Dean Bailey

Is he a man unfairly sacked after his teams massive loss to Geelong? We think so, after the display the players put up out on the field three quarters of the team should also get the sack. However, there has been no rustling in the wind about Baileys future and where he will be at next season. He may decide to take some time out of the coaches box entirely, it is fair to say that he won’t be given the reins of Adelaide or the Western Bulldogs, perhaps he will gain an assistant coach position with another club.

Mick Malthouse, Alistair Clarkson, Brett Ratten

These three coaches will remain where they are, no shifting, swapping, dumping or moving at all.
Malthouse will be at Collingwood next season, he is contracted and we don’t see Collingwood tearing that contract up. At least for a season anyway, after this first season he may be given the green light to move on.
Alistair Clarkson will remain at Hawthorn, having them currently 3rd with a depleted list is a great feat and it’s fair to say that not many people share Jeff Kennett’s view of ship ’em on out when there’s nothing wrong.
After having Carlton in 4th and playing some great football, Brett Ratten will also retain his job at the helm of that club.

Adelaide Crows

Mark Bickley has done a great job in his first three weeks as the man in charge, winning his first two games and giving Geelong a real scare over the weekend. Bickley has no reason to fear Rodney Eade, we don’t see Eade leaving Victoria. So his only real competition could be from former teammate Simon Goodwin, however if Bickley can continue in the vein in his in at the moment and give a good presentation to the board, the job is his.

Western Bulldogs

Will be looking for fresh blood, current assistant coaches that are touted as ready-made head coaches. Leon Cameron has emerged as the favourite to return to the West. Other coaches to have come to the front are Brian Royal, Brenton Sanderson, Alan Richardson and Scott West. We believe Cameron and Sanderson are the front-runners though.

Melbourne Demons

Mick Malthouse will not be coaching Collingwood, as we said before he will see out a season of his current contract. Garry Lyon has repeatedly said he will not be coaching at all, JW says he may consider a behind-the-scenes development sort of role while MV thinks he will continue in an administration role before considering coaching. However, Rodney Eade has declared he wants to coach next season and could end up at Melbourne and all parties being considered for the Bulldogs role will also be screened by the Demons. Mark Williams and Dean Laidley also have senior experience and ticks that box for the Dees.

So these are the fans that are going to lead the way in changing crowd behaviour? Anyone else rolling on the floor with laughter? No, just us, ok moving on then.

It is no secret that there has been plenty of talk about crowd behaviour for as long as….well…there has been a crowd gathered together. The first question that needs to be asked is – Can crowd behaviour be changed? We think the answer is a very simple and very firm, no. How do you change their behaviour? How do you monitor their behaviour? The MCG has police and security walking the aisles every game, they have a phone number you can call/message if there is anti-social behaviour near you. What more do people expect to be done?

There are definitely things that should not be heard at the footy, chants of “rapist” and “terrorist” are without a doubt on that list, racism as well is an obvious no-go zone. Swearing and hurling common abuse at opposition players is a part of the crowd atmosphere though and we cannot see how it could/would be stamped out. Does this mean that when the entire crowd at the cricket chants “You are a wanker!” it is also deemed unfit?

While we applaud the effort made by the AFL and by Collingwood (still laughing), we think they are fighting a losing battle.

MV and JW

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