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Watson's warning on Essendon coaching plan

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16th September, 2019
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Essendon great Tim Watson says if the Bombers embark upon an AFL coaching succession plan, they will have to do so with buy-in from senior coach John Worsfold.

The Bombers have stated publicly Worsfold will coach in 2020, but there have been multiple reports next season would see him prepare to hand over the reins to assistant coach Ben Rutten.

Watson said while he wasn’t aware of a succession plan, Rutten could have a future as a long-term coach at either Essendon or Adelaide, where he played 229 AFL games.

“I’m not aware of that (a succession plan) at all. I am aware of the fact … that John Worsfold will coach Essendon next year,” Watson said on 7mate’s Talking Footy.

“I’m not sure what manoeuvring might take place around that. Rutten’s name has been mentioned as a possible long-term coach, maybe he’ll throw his hat in the ring for the Adelaide job too. I’m not sure whether or not he will.

“I would think that they (will) be asking questions about him, whether or not it’s a possibility, because he’s got a reasonable CV himself now.”

Watson said if the Bombers did implement a succession plan, it would have to be with Worsfold’s agreement and buy-in.

Citing the example of Collingwood’s difficult handover from Mick Malthouse to Nathan Buckley, Watson said a failed succession plan would be “disastrous” for the Bombers.

“Absolutely (Worsfold would have to agree). I think it would be just foolhardy of any football club to embark upon something like that if you don’t have everybody on the same page,” he said.

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“If that wasn’t the case, this could be disastrous. We know that there was a succession plan at Collingwood where they apparently agreed and then they disagreed and they moved further and further apart.

“The disruption that can be caused if everybody isn’t in agreement with this is disastrous for a footy club.”