Why do we only blame the coach?
The sad events of the past week regarding Port Adelaide’s Matthew Primus have reinforced just how cut throat this business of AFL footy is now. Before the match on the weekend, Primus was seemingly guaranteed another contract.
Fast forward two hours, and his tenure is in tatters.
Surprisngly he is the first coach to be ousted this year. It seems every week there is new scrutiny, new questions directed at men who try their absolute hardest to get their footy club to win matches.
High expectations from supporters and CEOs don’t help either. Brett Ratten’s head was on the chopping block after the Blues soared and crumbled out of flag contention.
We all thought he was gone. Hell, even Mick Malthouse was being groomed as his successor.
But it’s fair to say the buck doesn’t just stop with coaches. Sometimes, rotten luck can play a huge part in the life of a coach.
With the advent of two new teams in the competition, the talent pool is getting shallower and shallower.
Clubs are being forced to scour lower leagues in order build their lists.
Seeing how thinly the talent has been stretched, I bet the AFL are hoping more code-hoppers follow new boys Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau across.
Everyone says results drive clubs. And to a certain extent that’s true. But when clubs change coaches at the drop of a hat, like Richmond have done, it destabilises the time a coach needs to build a list and to build a game plan.
Remember, Mark “Bomber” Thompson took until his seventh year to make a grand final.
Recent successes like Paul Roos and Leigh Matthews have heightened our expectations on what coaches can produce, and it’s sad to see critics and ‘experts’ saying that clubs need to change their plans yearly.
If coaches stay on the track they believe is best, and have support around them, then let them coach.
Players must also take blame for poor results. Unfortunately, it seems coaches will always be the scapegoat in the cut and thrust of modern AFL football.