AFL coaches reviewed – part 1, Adelaide to Collingwood

Gareth Hunter Roar Rookie

By , Gareth Hunter is a Roar Rookie


17 Have your say

    2017 has marked another super competitive season for the AFL, and this season has also been a very stressful one for the coaches of the league.

    Coaches such as Damien Hardwick, Brad Scott, Ken Hinkley, Rodney Eade and Ross Lyon headlined a long list who were under the pump heading into 2017.

    Compared to the olden days of the AFL, coaches are not given the long term deals as easy in the current AFL landscape.

    I will take a look individually at each coach and examine their 2017 performance as well as their future at their respective clubs!

    Don Pyke – Adelaide Crows
    Pyke took over the reigns of the Adelaide football club after the devastating loss of the newly appointed coach, Phil Walsh at the start of 2015.

    2016, Pyke’s first year, started off as a belter for the Crows, going into the finals looking like a premiership contender.

    After downing the dismal Roos in the first final, they lost to Sydney by six goals in a game they should have won.

    Fast forward to 2017, the Crows started off the year with another belter. The Crows defeated early premiership favourites Greater Western Sydney by eight goals in an impressive outing at Adelaide Oval. Adelaide went onto win the first six games.

    They are currently sitting on top the ladder and look to make their first grand final since 1998 (Which they won).

    Pyke has done an outstanding job this year, leading still a quite young Crows team to a possible premiership in 2017.

    It looked like a glum situation for the Crows when Patrick Dangerfield left in the 2015 Free Agency, but Pyke has shown great determination with this young group.

    Expect to see Don Pyke as the Head Coach for at least the next five years.

    Chris Fagan – Brisbane Lions
    Signing on for the Brisbane Lions would have to be the most difficult, frightening and unstable thing to do as an upstart coach, but Fagan has taken the bull by the horns.

    Looking to win another wooden spoon, the Lions have improved since the end of 2016. Winning their opening game of the year against the Gold Coast in the annual ‘Q Clash’ was a very good start for Fagan. Since then though, Fagan’s Lions have only won three more games, four games in total.

    The Lions have every opportunity at beating the Suns once again in the second ‘Q Clash’ of the year this weekend.

    If the Lions beat the Suns, and Carlton lose, the Lions can jump from bottom to 17th. It’s a hard decision to be in though.

    The Lions are starting their third rebuild in nearly 10 years, so should they ‘Tank’ and claim the No.1 draft pick? Or should the Lions still be competitive to get some winning culture into the young side?

    Which ever they decide to do, or whatever happens, Fagan and his men have to make the best of it. For Fagan’s Lions to move forward onto bigger and better things, Fagan has to top his effort of four wins this year, with absolutely no less than six wins in 2018.

    To prove they are heading into the right avenue, they have to prove they can improve every single year. Fagan’s fate will literally be year-by-year pending on his win-loss ratio.


    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Brendon Bolton – Carlton Blues
    Brendon Bolton had a tough ask of him when he signed on with the Blues at the end of 2015. Carlton was an absolute mess before Bolton signed on, and he has done wonders ever since!

    Focusing on the young gun core consisting of names such as Weitering and Docherty, Bolton has educated them early about leadership and team work.

    His winning percentage of 37 may look dismal, but you have to consider what Bolton took over – a club consisting of either very young, raw players and veteran players who’d had enough of the current direction of the club.

    Consisting of failed draft picks, injury prone players and terrible trade decisions, the Blues looked to have little to no future.

    Fast forward to the end of 2017, the Blues have a lot of good signs for the future. Docherty almost a certainty for All Australian is another big tick for the up-and-coming Blues.

    Expect the rebuilding process to be long, but when the Blues hit their stride in 4-6 years, they will be the force of the olden days they used to be!

    Nathan Buckley – Collingwood Magpies
    69 wins, 63 losses is the stat line for Buckley’s tenure at the Magpies since he took over at the start of 2012. With little to no success in the finals on top of those stats, Buckley’s tenure at the Magpies has been nothing but stagnant and time wasting.

    Buckley was the most scrutinised coach leading into 2017, with good reason. Ever since taking over the reigns from Malthouse, Buckley has failed to build and field ‘His team’.

    Collingwood is currently sitting in 12th, they have found late success but are still not going to be good enough to secure a finals berth.

    A lot of people in the media believe that this late spurt will secure Buckley’s job for at least another year. In my opinion, if Collingwood really wants to show they have near success in their sights, Buckley has to go.

    He has been given six years to build his side, which is ample time to at least show they are progressing forward. But Buckley and his Pies have been stagnant, middle dwellers.

    A change of direction and system is what will suit the Pies the most, their list has a great core but still could use a few fillers.

    Hiring a Coach like Brett Ratten, who is urging for another go at senior level could be a possible move.

    The Pies could even poach current coaches Alistair Clarkson and Brad Scott, who are unlikely to leave their current clubs but would breathe life and success into the club.