Blight to help Gold Coast AFL coach
Barely a month after re-signing Guy McKenna for two more years, the Gold Coast have been forced to appoint Malcolm Blight as director of coaching to support the besieged Suns’ AFL mentor.
But Suns’ chairman John Witheriff warned on Tuesday night that there was no quick fix for the winless Gold Coast.
Blight – a dual premiership coach with Adelaide – was handed the new part-time role after stepping down as a director of the club.
The Brownlow Medallist is expected to be in the coach’s box with McKenna for Sunday’s clash with Geelong at Metricon Stadium.
It is believed Blight will assist McKenna the same way Rodney Eade aids Nathan Buckley at Collingwood and Mark Thompson guides James Hird at Essendon.
But Witheriff denied they were borrowing ideas from other clubs, insisting the new role was created because Blight had more free time.
“With a guy with his pedigree in footy, we grabbed advantage of the fact he is not so busy,” Witheriff told AAP.
“It’s a big ask to develop the young players at speed but it is what our supporters and the competition wants.
“So we have to use every opportunity we can to try to get the best people to develop them – and Malcolm is one of the best in footy.”
Witheriff said Blight’s role would be reassessed at the end of the season.
McKenna was handed a contract extension in May, ending months of speculation about his future.
However, the Suns’ coach is still feeling the heat after the Gold Coast lost 20 straight games including all 13 of this year’s fixtures.
Witheriff defended McKenna’s 3-32 record since entering the competition last year but he did have one regret about his tenure.
“The only thing I would have liked to have done was beaten GWS,” he said.
“But I knew this year was going to be very difficult because the coaching staff made some fundamental changes to the way they were asking this team to play.
“When they did that … we were always aware that it would take time to bed in.
“In that respect, we are where we thought we would be.”
And Witheriff warned there would be more short-term pain before any gain.
“We had an opportunity to go with a different model which was to try and grab more older, uncontracted players,” he said.
“The smart people in footy believed staying the course with this young group of talented players over a 10 or 12-year period would see a much better outcome – that’s the course we are on.”
Mick Malthouse – who coached McKenna at West Coast before taking him on as a Collingwood assistant – did not believe Blight’s appointment was “suspicious” but questioned the timing of it.
“Most people who know Malcolm know he’s a really decent bloke and he’d be there to help out Guy in any way he possibly could,” he told 3AW radio.
“I don’t see it being suspicious.
“That (timing) is the thing that perhaps is the mystery to it.”© AAP 2013