Cameron Larkin .com

AFL selection panels need a rethink

Have we put AFL on too high of a pedestal? Everything recently seems to be played up for the salivating and waiting media who jump on any piece of information to gain that highly sought exclusive.

The present day practice of clubs to carry out is the formation of small committees with the aim of selecting their next head honcho to lead them to premiership success.

On that note, it is now my honour to introduce Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide.

Mike Sheehan made a good point in his employer’s paper this morning mentioning that the three abovementioned clubs have appointed selection panels to seek out their next coach; however none have solicited the services of an ex-coach. Sheehan does note that former Collingwood and Brisbane four-time premiership winning coach, Leigh Matthews, will provide counsel to the Crows when they boast a shortlist of three.

The one club for my part that plainly just do not get it is Melbourne. The Dees panel comprises two former players including club greater and Brownlow Medallist Jim Stynes and stand-in Director Garry Lyon. Some may come back at me with antipathy because I am not categorizingLyon’s coaching career with All-Australian team in the same esteem as an AFL coach of one of the 17 clubs. But that’s just how it is. Jason Akermanis was quoted as saying in the Herald Sun’s SuperFooty column that, “I’m a club legend but it doesn’t mean I know a thing about picking a good coach.”

The other element which stands-out is the inclusion of Cameron Schwab. I appreciate he is the CEO but I truly wonder if Melbourne is serious about this process or not? Only a few weeks ago Schwab was out the door and himself searching for a position.  How can an individual be involved in the identification and acquisition of a coach if the club had torn half way through his contract prior to a back flip that saw Dean Bailey sacked?

Here is a question I pose to the heads of the Dees, Dogs and Crows. What does this list have in common – Dennis Pagan, David Parkin, Leigh Matthews, Paul Roos, Terry Wallace, Robert Walls, and Grant Thomas? Answer – All coached at AFL level and several actually took their sides to finals and walked away with the premiership cup.

How about asking one or two of those named or one who I may have left off, to assist, employ their practical knowledge, and get serious for what is a highly important process. Be pragmatic, give the situation the attention it requires and then in the end assign the best and right person to lead the club.

I’ll conclude on this. The last time the Western Bulldog’s tasted glory was in 1954, Melbourne 1964, and Adelaide 1998. It might be time to rethink the panel setup.


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