Just days before the finals began and after weeks of speculation, Carlton dismissed senior coach David Teague. Also departing are assistants Brent Stanton, Dale Amos and John Barker. Teague had one more year to run on his contract, but an extensive review of the football department saw the club decide it needed change.
In an email sent to club members, new president Luke Sayers said: "It was identified that there had been confusion associated with the game plan ... the team has under-delivered in its ability to consistently defend, win the contest and apply pressure. This was highlighted, but not limited to, an overt, consistent focus on offense at a detriment to the defensive side of the game. While the easier option would have been to wait a further 12 months in the hope these deficiencies would change, the in-depth data gained ... left no doubt that such an option would not be in the best interests of the club ...".
During the hyped media speculation, former Saints and Docker coach Ross Lyon and former Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson were both touted as replacements. However, Clarkson, who may have been tempted, advised that he was sticking to his original plan of stepping away in 2022. He was also approached by Collingwood. Lyon has not coached since leaving the Dockers in 2019. When facing the media, Sayers would not confirm or deny if had spoken to Lyon but said, "I am always talking to lots of people in footy. It would be remiss of me if I hadn't always been looking at opportunities. I started this process hoping ... that David would be the ongoing coach ... But I would be remiss in my responsibilities if I hadn't considered options B, C, D and E...".
Teague's appointment came after he took over for Brendon Bolton for 11 games in 2019. His success in leading the team to six wins saw him earn the gig full-time. But the Blues' poor finish to the season ended his tenure. He also criticized the club for failing to support him and was critical of how information about the review, which began in June, was leaked to the public. His manager Liam Pickering also slammed the club's review process and took aim at Lyon for previously and publicly throwing his hat into the ring before the club announced Teague's dismissal.
There are changes at board level as well with former player Greg Williams replacing Chris Judd as football director. Former president Mark Mark LoGiudice also stepping down along with the club's vice-president and another board member. Williams played 109 games for Carlton, won a Brownlow Medal and a best and fairest with the Blues in 1994, as well as claiming the Norm Smith Medal in a premiership team in 1995. He recently returned to Carlton as a part-time skills coach but left midway through the 2020 season as a result of the cuts to the soft cap in the wake of COVID-19.
DAVID TEAGUE'S TIME AT CARLTON
2004: traded to Carlton in 2003 after three seasons at North Melbourne and made an instant impact, winning the club's best and fairest award
2008: delisted at the end of 2007, immediately dived into coaching, taking charge of Carlton's VFL affiliate Northern Blues
2017: returned to Carlton after helping Adelaide reach the 2017 Grand Final. Was put in charge of the Blues' forward line after serving as an assistant coach at West Coast, St Kilda and the Crows
2019: promoted to caretaker coach after Brendon Bolton's mid-season sacking. The support of players, a free-flowing style of attacking football, and a 5-4 record resulted in the club appointing him senior coach on a three-year contract. The Blues interviewed Michael Voss but CEO Cain Liddle said Teague was the best candidate and "quite simply could not be more ready"
2020: almost got the Blues into their first finals series since 2013 but the team lost four of their final five games to finish 11th. It remains their highest finish since 2013
2021, June: A round 12 loss to West Coast was the beginning of the end, prompting an independent review of the club's football department. Former Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh, Fremantle legend Matthew Pavlich and leadership consultant Graham Lowe were assigned to investigate a flat 4-8 start to the season
2021, July: Teague insisted he remained the right person for the job despite Alastair Clarkson's emergence as a potential successor. An untimely loss to eventual wooden spooners North Melbourne came as the board prepared to unpack the review
2021, August 12: Tiger coach Damien Hardwick is among those to offer support as speculation swirled around Teague's future. Teague recounts that Hardwick "talked about Richmond's courage to back him in when things weren't going well in 2016 ... it gives you confidence and I'm really hopeful that our club backs me in and has the courage to stick to the cause and to finish what we've started"
2021, August 19: The writing is seemingly on the wall but Teague remained in the dark. He offered a public critique of the review process, and said he would "have loved some people from within the club to come out and back me up"
2021, August 21: Teague admitted "it doesn't look like it's going to go in my favor" after a final-round loss to GWS. Ross Lyon had already declared an interest in the job but Teague was still yet to be given any indication of his fate
2021, August 23: The board was widely tipped to finally show its hand but dithered. Teague was put in the awkward position of conducting exit interviews with players despite expecting to be fired soon
2021, August 26: Teague is sacked. Carlton president Luke Sayers pointed to the review's findings of "confusion associated with the game plan" and an "overt, consistent focus on offense at a detriment to the defensive side of the game"
Article last changed on Friday, September 10, 2021 - 9:41 PM EDT