AFL coaches reviewed – part 1, Adelaide to Collingwood

Gareth Hunter Roar Rookie

By Gareth Hunter, 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.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • August 11th 2017 @ 9:35am
      Pedro The Fisherman said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      “Fast forward to the end of 2017, the Blues have a lot of good signs for the future”. Oh yeh – and they are currently 17th in an 18 team competition! Must be going to finish 16th next year?
      Cue Macca and his rants about how good Carlton actually are.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 11:13am
      Birdman said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

      Jeez, a 4 to 6 year horizon for the Blues will upset plenty of fans who are long-suffering and gagging for some success.

      Bucks is a shoe-in for a contract extension IMHO – not because he deserves one but because the President can’t admit he was wrong – talk of Clarkson is fanciful but Ratts would be a good option if Bucks is shown the door

      • August 11th 2017 @ 11:31am
        GJ said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

        How many years did it take Hawthorn to pull themselves off of the canvas? Didn’t it start around 2001

        • August 11th 2017 @ 11:46am
          Birdman said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          Hawks played a prelim in 2001 but it was a false dawn. Clarko appointed 2004 and they really showed real potential from 2006.

          My point about Carlton is whether their long suffering fans would be happy with another 4+ years for regular finals.

          • August 11th 2017 @ 12:20pm
            GJ said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

            Agree, being a Carlton fan would be difficult. Being a Brisbane fan would be excruciating. It just seems to me that when you start that far back it can take a long time to really get into a position of strength.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 11:54am
        The Fatman said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        Yet here we are still not playing finals.
        But nothing can be laid at Buckleys feet. The chosen one seems sure to get an extension despite having statistically the worst caching record in history (based in improving w/l ratio)
        I’m flabbergasted that anyone would even consider reappoint him.
        Oh well, 2 more years of going to nearly every game knowing we are playing WAY below what we are capable of, and knowing there will be no finals. Very, very demoralizing.
        The media are well and truly on the Buckley bandwagon all of a. Sudden providing their reasoning that : he is coaching better than ever (no one has provided any explanation on how they have arrived at the assumption) he has carried himself so well under pressure, he s great with the media, and every time a player is interviewed they are told that it’s amazing how they are playing for their coach? Sorry, but players play for thier careers regardless of a coach.
        Then there’s the Hardwick comparison (the coach that got his club to 3 finals series after a record time in the wilderness) being an exact comparison, and justification for re signing Buckley
        Lastly the other reason for an extended poor coaching record is turnover of football managers. Ironic that part of Richmond’s success this year is picking up Collingwood’s unwanted football manager

        • August 11th 2017 @ 12:02pm
          Birdman said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

          I feel your pain Fatman – I have a Pies mate who is super frustrated that Bucks looks will hanging on.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 12:05pm
        Chris said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

        Serge Silvani said five years was the time required for the rebuild when his grandson was chosen at the draft. The writer and Serge seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet. This was last year mind you so your prediction of 4-6 is just about right. This is coming from an objective die-in-the wool Maggie who hates CARLTON.

    • Roar Guru

      August 11th 2017 @ 11:43am
      Paul D said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

      Lions won’t be tanking this week or any other week going forward. Academy pick matching means we don’t need to tank, we can jump in whenever. And we already have Port’s first rounder this trade period.

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2017 @ 11:45am
        AdelaideDocker said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

        Wait, how do you have Port’s first rounder again? I’ve completely forgotten.

        Guess you also have a reason for Port to crash and burn 😉

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2017 @ 8:50pm
          Paul D said | August 13th 2017 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

          Port gave us their first rounder this year to get back into the draft last year.

          From in October 2016:

          On Tuesday the Brisbane Lions confirmed that a three-way trade had been done with the Gold Coast SUNS and Port Adelaide which sees Pearce Hanley and draft pick no.19 exchanged for a future first-round draft pick and this year’s pick no. 22.

          This trade meant that the Brisbane Lions were in possession of four picks within the top 22, holding picks 3, 16, 21 and 22.

          How the three-way trade worked:

          The Gold Coast SUNS pick up Hanley and receive selection 67 from Port Adelaide
          The Brisbane Lions gain the SUNS’ second round selection (pick 22) and also secure Port Adelaide’s future first round selection in 2017
          The Power acquire the Lions’ first round priority selection (19) and the SUNS’ 30th overall selection

    • August 11th 2017 @ 1:13pm
      Peter the Scribe said | August 11th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

      Cue the Bucks and Eddie haters yet again…go your hardest. Poach Alistair Clarkson is a bit of a silly comment, he has already said he is not interested and is going nowhere. Brad Scott would be good if they sack Bucks but I hope they don’t. One thing you can all take as fact….the media hysteria and endless Mark “Click Bait” Robinson articles and your hate comments in here will have zero impact at the decision making level, absolutely zero.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 5:05pm
        truetigerfan said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

        Ha-ha. And your undying loyalty will have how much impact? Nada. Zilch. None. It’s the attitude of Eddy and those in control at Collingwood that gets up the noses of not only Collingwood haters but a fair % of Magpie supporters too. You say ‘take as fact . . .’ Yeah right! Are you on the committee making decisions? If Buckley is sacked will you withdraw your support for Eddy and the club. Fact: Under Buckley the Magpies have spiralled down more consistently than Coles prices. Down, down . . .

        • August 12th 2017 @ 5:31pm
          Pieman said | August 12th 2017 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

          Truetigerfan i totally agree with you…. Peter the scribe must be a carlton or essendon plant because if he was a REAL Collingwood man he would see things as fhey are not how he hopes they will be in the distant future or he might want the pies in the bottom 6 for another couple of years.. Collingwood are gone again …no finals equals useless coach simple equation for realists
          As ive already stated all these Buckley and Mr ed optimists believed the pies would be in the 8 this year so you are wrong and you expect others to listen to you after another debacle of a year.
          Mr Ed will defend Buckley to the hilt now because he cant handle that he got it wrong like Peter the scribe they dont base there optimism on anything real . So if Mr Ed hangs around for another 5 years so will Buckley and Peter the scribe will obviously be happy even if the pies dont make the finals. If Buckley coaches Collingwood next year we wont make the finals.AGAIN. and rthere will be all sorts of excuses like injuiries and game schedule…things other clubs deal with but not Buckley. Dont be taken in by them…Buckley basically said if we dont make finals its his last year because he understands 5 years is enough but he wont leave because its all about him… do us all a favor buckley and go … Mr Ed give the supporters there club back … its not your club mate.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 5:35pm
      peter chrisp said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

      Truetigerfan have been a Pies supporter for 40 odd years and am i proud of our performances onfield where it counts most your comments are spot on & The Coles comment is just about right.

    • August 13th 2017 @ 9:16pm
      slugger said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

      Fully agree with the comments on Buckley, he has to go for the Pies to be a force again, Any Pies supporter that wants him to stay is bad for the club, they are content with mediocrity and prefer to protect egos than face reality. Please sack Buckley.

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