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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Former West Coast premiership player Don Pyke is the new Adelaide coach. Pyke, 46, played 132 games for the Eagles between 1989 and 1996. He played in the 1992 and 1994 Premierships and won the Eagles' Best and Fairest award in 1993. His career was cut short due to a shoulder injury but he did play for Claremont in the WAFL after his AFL retirement. Pyke began his coaching career at Claremont and was there for two years before becoming an assistant with the Eagles 2001-2004. He then became an assistant with the Crows under Neil Craig 2005-06 before making a move to working in the oil and gas industry and serving as a coaching consultant to Claremont and Fremantle. He returned to West Coast as an assistant in 2014.

Pyke, who was approached by Adelaide in August but preferred to concentrate on the rest of the season, said he respected what the late Phil Walsh had brought to the club and vowed to continue his legacy. Crows' CEO Andrew Fagan said the club was in a "unique situation that requires a unique set of skills and qualities". Fagan also pointed out West Coast's rise in 2015 and said Pyke was one whom success followed.

Assistant coach Scott Camporeale, who filled in after the tragic death of Phil Walsh, opted not to interview for the position. Camporeale said filling in showed him just what was required to be a full-time senior coach and that he felt his business and family commitments would not allow him to do the job justice. He did not rule out his candidacy for a senior job in the future.

Adelaide has also appointed the retired James Podsiadly as an assistant coach. Podsiadly, 34, spent most of 2015 playing in defense in the SANFL and will oversee the Crows' back line. Podsiadly was a mature age forward, originally drafted by Geelong in 2009. He played 83 games and kicked 169 goals for the Cats and was a member of their 2011 Premiership team. He joined Adelaide at the end of 2013 as a free agent where he played a further 21 games in two seasons. Of his appointment, Podsiadly said he has always wanted to stay involved and is looking forward to his new role. Football manager David Noble said Podsiadly's experience would be invaluable and that he showed great leadership during his playing days and was a great mentor to the younger players. Noble also said Podsiadly was a great communicator and that his outside interests in the leadership, health and well-being sectors also helped advance his coaching skills.

Premiership defender Matthew Scarlett, who has been a part-time coach with the Cats, has been appointed a full-time assistant. The six time All-Australian will be in charge of the Cats' defense which ranked 13th for points conceded in 2015. Geelong football manager Steve Hocking told the club’s website it would be great for a person with Scarlett's skill set to coach the defenders, saying "We have a person that was a fantastic defender ... and during his playing career he demonstrated a great knowledge of the game and an ability to communicate and pass on that knowledge".

Former Essendon and Brisbane champion Blake Caracella, who began his Level Four Coaching Accreditation in 2015, will continue his role as Geelong forward line coach. He has been with the Cats since 2010. Former Tiger midfielder Matthew Knights, along with former Cat James Rahilly, will coach the midfield. Former Collingwood and Brisbane midfielder Shane O'Bree will coach Geelong's VFL team for the first time in 2016. O'Bree joined the Cats in 2013 after two seasons with Gold Coast and replaces respected local footballer Paul Hood who will move to player development. Brisbane triple premiership midfielder Nigel Lappin will be working with the club's younger players as part of the club's academy program.

In early October, Essendon appointed former West Coast coach John Worsfold as their new senior coach. Worsfold, a premiership player and coach with the Eagles, has signed a three year deal with the Bombers. While he said he had never lost his passion for football, he did admit that he had been tired at the end of his 12 year stint with the Eagles and needed a break. He stepped in as interim coaching director with the Crows after the death of Phil Walsh and said that role had re-energized him. Worsfold joined the Laws of the Game Committee in 2014 after leaving the Eagles and was appointed as chairman of the AFL Coaches Association later that year, replacing coaching great David Parkin. He decided to interview for the Essendon job after a contingent of club administrators and players met with him in Adelaide in mid-September.

Inaugural Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna has been reunited with his old teammate Worsfold after being appointed as an assistant coach. McKenna left Gold Coast at the end of 2014 and spent 2015 in several media roles. Other candidates for the position included former Magpie Scott Burns and former Bulldogs' coach Brendan McCartney. Manager Rob Kerr spoke on behalf of the club when he said McKenna had been the standout during the selection process. Former Melbourne coach Mark Neeld will fill the newly created position of game performance manager while interim coach Matthew Egan will be Essendon's VFL coach and head of development. Former Crow and Bomber Hayden Skipworth moves from his role as development coach to an assistant under Worsfold.

Former Brisbane player Craig Lambert, who has spent the past several seasons as development officer with GWS, returns home to Brisbane. He has been appointed welfare officer for the Lions. However, that role has been expanded as he will also be heavily involved in a player retention program as the Lions attempt to keep players from departing for home or more successful clubs.


Article last changed on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 5:45 AM EST

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