AFL coaching is in the blood lines

Andy_Roo Roar Guru

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    Kevin Sheedy is in talks to return to Essendon. (AFL Media/Slattery Images).

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    When people look at which horses to buy at the annual yearling sales they always use the bloodlines as a guide to likely success. Imagine how much money the offspring of Black Caviar will fetch.

    The same is true in AFL coaching circles. It seems that great coaches spawn the next generation of great coaches. Look back as far as the Hawthorn Football Club in the 1980s. Allan Jeans was the coach in a great era for the club.

    During Jean’s time at Hawthorn he coached many great players who have gone on into coaching careers.

    Garry Ayres, Gary Buckenara, Rodney Eade, Terry Wallace and Leigh Matthews. I’m sure Jeans’ game plans, coaching style and general personality would have rubbed off.

    Matthews in particular had a very successful coaching career and there are now three senior AFL coaches who were coached by Matthews in Voss, Brad Scott and Chris Scott.

    With all clubs having many assistant coaches these days I’m sure there are a few of Leigh’s ex-players filling those roles too.

    Now lets look at Kevin Sheedy.

    Sheeds is one of the longest serving coaches in the game. He enjoyed great, even though cyclical, success at Essendon.

    His coaching offspring include, Terry Daniher (successful coach in the Riverina league), Tim Watson, Mark Harvey, James Hird, Neale Daniher, and Mark Thompson.

    Again in particular we can look at Mark Thompson. He has had a long and successful coaching career with Geelong and is now back at Essendon. It remains to be seen how many Geelong players from that era will become successful coaches.

    Thirdly lets look at Mick Malthouse. He was a successful coach at both West Coast and Collingwood over a career of 20 odd years.

    West Coast players under Malthouse who have gone on to senior AFL coaching careers include John Worsfold, Guy McKenna, Scott Watters. And Buckley from his days at Collingwood.

    Worsfold has had premiership success as a coach and McKenna is developing a strong team on the Gold Coast who everyone expects to win premierships in the next few years. Nathan Buckley has the challenge of keeping Collingwood near the top of the ladder.

    David Parkin had a long and successful coaching career spawning Brett Ratten into the coaching ranks. Stephen Silvagni is also playing a key role at GWS.

    Dennis Pagan has spawned Dean Laidley and John Longmire.

    Paul Roos coached Sydney to great success and it remains to be seen how many of his players go on to coaching roles. Michael O’Loughlin is head coach at the AIS Academy and can be said to have been influenced by both Roos and Rodney Eade.

    I’m sure there are many other coaches I have forgotten with equally impressive blood-lines.

    And most of those offspring I have mentioned have been great players and club captains or leaders. And it is their own personal qualities and abilities that are largely responsible for their coaching success.

    But the fatherly connections cannot be denied.

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