Melbourne needs a Rocket fired up them

Dan Lonergan Columnist

By , Dan Lonergan is a Roar Expert

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    As Melbourne continues their search for a new coach, it’s becoming almost certain that former Swans premiership coach Paul Roos is out of the running.

    Roos has said he will take phone calls from the Demons’ astute CEO, Peter Jackson, but Jackson has announced during the week that in the last contact he had with Roos, he still had no intention of putting his hand up to coach next year, which has been his stance all along.

    There’s no doubt Roos would be an attractive proposition and that’s been discussed constantly in the football media and in various forums, but there are other, decent, fish in the sea and Melbourne and Jackson are doing the right thing by turning their attention elsewhere.

    After choosing two untried coaches in a row in Dean Bailey and Mark Neeld, which haven’t succeeded, the Demons need an experienced campaigner this time.

    Mark Williams, who coached Port Adelaide to a flag and is now a senior assistant and development coach at Richmond has to be in the running and has always wanted to coach a Melbourne team.

    He has a great reputation for developing young talent, which the Demons have plenty of, but maybe just haven’t been taught the right way.

    Brett Ratten started his coaching career under Neale Daniher at Melbourne and spent two years as a midfield coach in 2004 and 2005 at the Blues, and on face value did a solid job.

    But the expectations for success were too much with the talent he had at his disposal. He was on a hiding to nothing there.

    He is developing new skills as a senior assistant at Hawthorn this season and, coupled with the fact he will be given time at Melbourne, it might be a good fit.

    The experienced senior coach who deserves to be favourite though, is Rodney Eade.

    He took over Sydney in 1996 after they had spent several years down the bottom, but had the makings of a good team with an excellent mix of youth and experience.

    Throw in talent like Tony Lockett, Paul Kelly, Darren Cresswell, Paul Roos and the highly skilled youngster Michael O’Loughlin and there was plenty for Eade to work with.

    They rose quickly and played in finals regularly from ’96 until 2001, missing just once.

    He then took over the Bulldogs at the end of 2004, who had won just eight games in two seasons under Peter Rohde.

    Their list was similar to the Swans’ when he took over. They had a number of stars like Chris Grant, Brad Johnson, Scott West and Luke Darcy, coupled with a talented young group such as Robert Murphy, Adam Cooney, Ryan Hargrave and Daniel Giansiracusa, which needed to be moulded into a team.

    He came in with a certain game plan he wanted to teach them, but realised he had to change and tweak that.

    The result was playing finals four times in five years.

    Melbourne is in the same boat regarding their playing talent pool, with all those early draft picks who haven’t flourished as much as first thought. But ‘Rocket’, as he is affectionately called in the footy world, has the runs on the board in getting the best out of young players and ensuring they reach their potential.

    He has a reputation of being a shrewd tactician on game day and over the years at the Swans and the Dogs has conjured victories from nowhere out of the coaching box.

    He has stated recently he still has the fire and passion to be a senior coach again and thrives on the challenge of improving a team.

    Well, a bigger challenge (other than maybe GWS) he won’t find in the AFL at the moment!

    In Neil Craig the Demons have an interim coach with plenty of experience, who has made the team more competitive since taking over a month ago. But he was appointed to the role of Director of Sport Performance when Mark Neeld got the coaching job, so they could be better off adopting a clean slate and having a brand new coaching hierarchy.

    Eade is an excellent media talent as well, which is such an important part of the job nowdays, and he would be a great promoter for his new club.

    But his number one priority is to coach and he can get the most out of playing groups.

    He looks to be just what the Demons require in these tough times.

    Dan Lonergan
    Dan Lonergan

    Dan Lonergan is one Australia's most respected and versatile commentators. In more than 16 years on ABC Grandstand he has covered AFL footy (including four Grand Finals), cricket, tennis, and three Olympic Games, including London 2012 where he commentated 16 sports.