The 2018 AFL season has come and gone, and in a twist ending every single senior coach managed to make it through the year without getting sacked.
It’s the first time in a long time we’ve seen this level of stability across the league, and with this in mind, plenty of questions are being asked of many of the league’s biggest names.
With so much to keep track of heading towards the new year, let’s take a look at the league’s most experienced leaders and how they compare.
Debut season: 2005
Games coached: 329
Premierships: 4 (2015, 2014, 2013, 2008)
Contracted until: 2019, in talks for a three year extension until 2022
A man who needs no introduction in the AFL community, he’s the longest-serving senior coach in the game and also the most successful. Clarkson has the job for as long as he wants it.
Debut season: 2007
Games coached: 284
Contracted until: 2020
The second-most experienced senior coach at the top level, Lyon has seen a little bit of just about everything. His real strength comes from his tenure at multiple clubs. While many coaches at the top level have served as assistants at multiple teams, only one has served as a senior coach at two.
But if you’re a wagering man, I would suggest gambling on Ross Lyon to be the next senior coach to lose his job.
Lyon has taken two clubs to grand finals but has never won a premiership. Fremantle have been wallowing towards the bottom of the ladder for multiple seasons, and despite possibly inducing Melbourne’s Jesse Hogan as one big positive, they’re also losing quality players.
Lachie Neale departing the club for Brisbane is a huge indictment on the direction Fremantle is heading in. The prospects of another season with an injured Nat Fyfe should terrify Dockers fans.
Fremantle finished this season in 14th. Brisbane finished in 15th. Fremantle lost a staggering nine games by more than 50 points this season. Brisbane lost only two by the same margin.
Unless Lyon has a few cards hidden up his sleeve the wider AFL community isn’t privy too, it looks like it might be curtains for Ross at some point soon.
Debut season: 2010
Games coached: 208
Contracted until: 2021
It’s hard to believe Richmond’s Damien Hardwick is even cracking the top ten on this list, let alone the top three. How time flies.
After guiding Richmond to premiership success after more than three decades in the wilderness, Hardwick’s job at one end of Punt Road is safe for many years to come.
Hardwick did what a long, long line of coaches have failed to do, and as a consequence the Tigers will reward him with whatever he demands for plenty of time to come.
Richmond may have missed out on going back-to-back this year after a heartbreaking preliminary final defeat at the hands of Collingwood, but they did win the minor premiership.
Add former Gold Coast co-captain Tom Lynch to the current line-up and Hardwick appears to be in as a good a stead as anyone to record a second premiership soon.
And for those out there curious as to how each coach is tracking, let’s wrap up by taking a look at every coach and when they first got started.
|Stuart Dew||Gold Coast||2017|
|Luke Beveridge||Western Bulldogs||2015|
|Alan Richardson||St Kilda||2014|
|Leon Cameron||Greater Western Sydney||2014|
|Adam Simpson||West Coast||2014|
|Ken Hinkley||Port Adelaide||2013|
|Brad Scott||North Melbourne||2010|
|Ross Lyon||St Kilda, Fremantle||2007|