When you think of small forwards of the modern era, the names Cyril Rioli, Eddie Betts and Stephen Milne come to mind.
Stuart Dew has been appointed as the senior coach of the Gold Coast Suns.
He was chosen over Carlton’s John Barker and Hawthorn’s Scott Burns.
He is known for his playing career at Port Adelaide and Hawthorn, where he won premierships in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
Dew has also worked as an assistant coach at the Sydney Swans. According to SBS, he has received praise from senior coach John Longmire who stated that “He’s highly experienced and a very good coach for what he’s doing now.”
According to the AFL website, Dew “was an inaugural member of the AFL’s Level Four course, earning strong reviews through the program, which prepares the game’s best assistants for senior positions.”
So it would appear that he is the right man for the job.
However, I am not sure if Dew is capable of leading the Suns to their first finals appearance in the club’s history. He may be well respected in the football community, but he is still, ultimately an untried senior coach at AFL level.
I do not believe that his appointment alone will guarantee success. Take his predecessors, for example.
Guy McKenna was another untried senior coach at AFL level whose tenure at the Suns concluded with him being sacked after four mediocre seasons. That’s not to mention the horrific culture that developed during his time there.
Even Rodney Eade’s time at the Suns did not result in success. Whatever you may think of him, the Sydney Swans made a grand final appearance in 1996 during his tenure.
The Western Bulldogs also made three consecutive preliminary final appearances from 2008-2010 during his time at the club. Yet, the Suns did not even come close to qualifying for the finals while he was coaching them. He was sacked as a result.
For the record, I hope Dew’s appointment results in success for the Suns.
However, the Suns will not make the finals unless Dew has the resources that are required to build a successful culture at the club, both on and off the field. He needs players who are desperate to win a premiership and assistant coaches who will help him develop innovative strategies. Not to mention, competent club administrators.
So, what do you think? Can Stuart Dew it? Can he turn the Suns’ fortunes around?