Never Tear Us Apart (positions 16-12)
These guys are lead pipe locks to be at the helms of their respective clubs in coming seasons. Nothing short of death or retirement will keep them out of their jobs and media pressure is practically non existent. Rumour has it a few of them tried out for the gig as the new lead singer of INXS given the familiarity of their above-mentioned smash hit.
16 – John Worsfold – The ‘Top Gun’ in AFL coaching. He has the best midfield in the comp and even managed to get the big Q, Quinten Lynch to kick over sixty goals in an otherwise non existent forward line. Itâ€™s ‘Maverick’ all the way for Woosha.
15 – Paul Roos – If Worsfold is ‘Mav’ then Roos slots nicely into Val Kilmerâ€™s role as ‘Ice Man’. Possibly the nicest guy in the AFL, Roos is set to stay at the Swans until he departs of his own accord. Amazingly it seems that he has no designs on being a career coach despite his immense success in his short reign.
14 ï¿½ Leigh Matthews ï¿½ One day Matthews may be seen as the greatest coach of all time. He already fills that role as a player for many and his coaching resume is quickly becoming the envy of all the past greats. Donâ€™t be surprised if Lethal takes his current crop of youngsters to the promise land again sometime soon.
13 ï¿½ Terry Wallace ï¿½ One of the most passionate and inventive coaches in the league. Wallace loves a new idea as much as he loves his solarium. He is not afraid to take a different path in order to be successful and his job is secure for the next few years with the Tigers as he moulds the team to his liking.
12 ï¿½ Rodney Eade ï¿½ Perhaps under slightly more pressure than Wallace by virtue of the fact that many people believe the Dogs can go all the way this season. Eade has a remarkable group of young runners and the return of a host of injured players with the acquisition of Jason Akermanis means a premiership might not be that unrealistic.
Ooo Ah Just A Little Bit (11-9)
The next group of coaches are pretty safe but as ‘Gina G’ said there is just a little bit of pressure. I would be amazed if one of these guys was unemployed by seasons end but after the Malcolm Blight saga at St Kilda a few years back you should always remember that anything is possible.
11 ï¿½ Neil Craig ï¿½ The Crows have been amazingly successful under the sports science guru but will the aging list catch up with him? The Crows have been picked as the team to drop by many pundits previously but Craig continues to work his magic and I imagine he will be given every chance to work with the next group of young kids that come through in Adelaide.
10 ï¿½ Ross Lyon ï¿½ After his initial few press conferences Lyon has become the invisible man of the AFL, going about his business like he belongs. Still, taking the reins at the club that some say has the best list in the comp will always mean there is pressure present, and signing Michael Gardiner did nothing but add fuel to an already flickering flame.
9 – Mick Malthouse ï¿½ As long as Buckley and Eddie are at Collingwood, Malthouse will remain there. I believe the trio will remain in tact for at least one more year but after that who knows? Malthouseâ€™s ability to cope with life after Tarrant will be the deciding factor in how hot things get in 3066.
Take the Pressure Down (8-4)
These coaches have been listening to ‘John Farnham’in the car heading to training all preseason. In some cases despite great records, either recently or in the past, all these coaches are facing uncertain futures to some extent.
8 ï¿½ Chris Connolly ï¿½ No matter how well Connelly does he will be under pressure in Fremantle. Nothing short of a flag will appease the rabid horde of purple Dockers fans in the West. The funny thing is, when you look at Freo, you get the feeling that anything from 1st to about 12th could be possible.
7 ï¿½ Neale Daniher ï¿½ Ten years in the job and only one grand final appearance means your job is not going to be completely safe. With that said the Demons backline is the only thing that makes me think they are not a top four certainty this season. The Reverend needs to see continued development from his young midfielders and another good year from the likes of Nathan Carroll if his position on this list is to improve.
6 ï¿½ Mark Williams ï¿½ Itâ€™s only just over two years since Choco delivered a flag to the Port Adelaide faithful. Since then he has set about rejuvenating his list and building for his next success. 2007 could be a lean year but as always Williams will be stoic in the face of criticism and go on the attack against the press if need be. It remains to be seen how long he will remain in charge.
5 – Alistair Clarkson ï¿½ The young Hawks look set for continued improvement in 2007 but a failure to do this will most likely spell the end for Clarksonâ€™s reign. His long term future is indelibly tied to the likes of Franklin (not Mark), Roughhead, Lewis and Birchall. The other pressing need is for Hawthorn to find a successor to Richie Vandenberg as skipper.
4 ï¿½ Kevin Sheedy ï¿½ Yes thatâ€™s right there are 12 other guys more likely to keep their jobs than Sheeds. Two years down the bottom and an expiring contract could possibly spell the end for the great man. No doubt the return of the skipper Matthew Lloyd will be a boost and also the Bombers loaded up on talent in what was said to be a very strong draft. However, James Hird has already fuelled the fire by saying that he didnâ€™t stay for one more year â€œnot to play finalsâ€. Just how far up the ladder the Bombers need to climb in order for Sheedy to remain is the question all footy fans will be waiting to find out the answer to.
End of the Line (3-1)
The final three members of this list are in more strife than ‘Flash Gordon’. Hopefully the ‘Travelling Wilburys’ were right when that said it ‘was all right at the end of the line’, because right now thatâ€™s where these three men could be headed.
3 – Dean Laidley ï¿½ What to do with the Roos? Laidley might have the toughest gig in coaching. His team is under financed, facing potential relocation and is devoid of the super young talent that his rivals have. The Shinboner spirit has gone a long way to helping the Roos in the past but how long will it be before it runs out and the plug gets pulled on Laidley?
2 ï¿½ Mark Thompson ï¿½ Has less ever come from more? The off-season review lead to almost no changes down Corio way and the Cats stuck with Bomber. Steve Johnson caused a stir in the preseason with another off-field blunder and Iâ€™m sure Thompson is hoping this is the biggest crisis he has to deal with this year. Anything short of finals and Bomber gets his marching orders.
1 ï¿½ Dennis Pagan ï¿½ Like Ari and Eric in ‘Entourage’, Carlton and Pagan need to hug it out. The bad blood at Carlton is starting to pool under the Legends Stand and the knives are out all over the place. It seems the only thing that saved Pagan was his salary. The Blues just couldnâ€™t swallow it if they sacked him so he his around for at least one more year. Amazingly Pagan was at the top of the coaching tree just a few short years ago.
Article written by Luke Mather from oneweekatatime.com.au