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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just weeks after his resignation as the Western Bulldogs' senior coach, Brendan McCartney was appointed development and strategy coach with the Melbourne Demons. He joins Brett Allison, Brad Miller and newly appointed full-time Casey coach Justin Plapp, in Melbourne’s development team for 2015. He will remain in that role until assistant coach Simon Goodwin takes over from Paul Roos in 2017 as senior coach, at which time he will move into a mentor and management role.

In making the announcement, football operations manager Josh Mahoney said the club was delighted to have McCartney on board. “He has a proven record and reputation in developing players and his appointment adds valued experience to our development program ... Simon has previously worked with Brendan ... at Essendon and identified him as the ideal candidate ... to assist his transition into senior coaching."

McCartney is one of only several people to have coached at AFL level without playing. His father Graham played one game for Richmond in 1957. Brendan did play in the Geelong Football League and later coached Ocean Grove to four consecutive premierships 1994-97. He served as an assistant and development coach with the Tigers 1998-99 under then senior coach Jeff Gieschen. He then crossed to Geelong where he was an assistant alongside Mark Thompson 2000-2010, playing a key role in the Cats' 2007 and 2009 Premierships. In 2010, he was named the AFLCA’s assistant coach of the year. Along with Mark Thompson, he joined Essendon for one season under James Hird. At the end of the 2011 season, McCartney was named coach of the Western Bulldogs where he coached for three seasons.

Source: Ryan Larkin, Melbourne Media Release

Former Melbourne coach Mark Neeld has joined Essendon as head of development. He fills the vacancy left by James Byrne, who left at the conclusion of the 2014 season. Former player and ex-Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has also returned as an assistant coach to his former teammate. With these appointments, Essendon has come up trumps in the coaching department with four people who have had senior coaching experience. Should Mark Thompson decide to remain, he will increase the senior experience to five. Neeld's appointment sees him reunited with former Adelaide coach Neil Craig, who was an assistant at Melbourne under Neeld. Craig joined Essendon as head of coaching development and strategy in 2014 while Neeld worked for AFL Victoria as a talent manager.

Neeld said on Essendon's website,, that he was excited about returning to AFL ranks and having an opportunity with the Bombers. "I have had a strong passion to assist the development of young footballers and watch them strive to reach their potential ... the club has a terrific young list and I am looking forward to working closely with the coaching panel to foster the progress of our players, particularly in the early stages of their career."

Neeld had a wealth of coaching experience prior to joining Melbourne. He took Ocean Grove to several premierships and coached the Western Jets in the TAC Cup. He also spent four seasons as an assistant coach in charge of the defense and midfield at Collingwood under Mick Malthouse. While Neeld's time as senior coach at Melbourne was not successful (winning only five games), he is still considered to have plenty to offer in a support role and without the external pressures that comes with senior coaching. Of course the Bombers are still dealing with the supplements saga with James Hird's case set to return to court in mid-November.

Craig said that the club's development program had undergone a significant review at the end of the 2014 season and identified a number of key improvement areas while Hird said that Neeld's passion for developing young players was evident through the interview process. "He brings a variety of experience and ... was involved in a very successful ... environment at Collingwood". Neeld played football with Geelong and Richmond during the 1990s.

Speaking of Mark Thompson, he could find himself in hot water and out of Essendon for refusing to pay the $30,000 fine the AFL slapped him with for his alleged involvement in the supplements saga. The fine was due on October 31. The issue is now in the hands of the AFL Commission and Thompson could be banned from working in the AFL for refusing to pay the fine. Even without this sanction hanging over his head, Thompson's future with the Bombers is still unclear as he is reluctant to step back into an assistant role after coaching the Bombers in 2014 while James Hird was suspended. Thompson did meet with club officials in mid-October regarding his role with the club in 2015, but has not had any contact with the club since then. James Hird, who said he and Thompson have a good relationship, has not spoken with Thompson for at least a month.

At the end of October, despite two more years on his Collingwood contract, Rodney Eade has been appointed senior coach of the Gold Coast Suns. A week before the official announcement, it was the worst kept secret in AFL with rumors and speculation swirling throughout the media. As a result, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire came out with all guns blazing, fuming at the idea of his football manager being poached by a rival club while still under contract. He said the club would not release Eade without some sort of compensation from the Suns. “Send a check ... and I will send Rodney Eade back with a nice bow around him”. Part of McGuire's angst stems from the AFL's new proposed tax on club football departments overspending. The Pies could face such a levy for having to "pay a premium to replace Eade ... There will be no deal unless we are compensated. There is now a salary cap on administrations and I won't be paying overs for a replacement," McGuire said.

Port Adelaide made a similar compensation claim when St Kilda signed contracted Power coaching director Alan Richardson as its senior coach after last year's trade period. Port initially claimed $150,000 from the Saints, but ultimately settled for about $20,000. Port CEO Keith Thomas agreed that McGuire's claim had merit, saying it inconvenienced the club which was losing a key member of its personnel so late in the year. Thomas said Port had paid Gold Coast $15,000 in compensation when the Power recruited contracted Suns' coaching staff member Shaun Hart to replace Richardson.

However, a deal between the two clubs was worked out and the official announcement was made on October 31. Eade said he had resigned himself to not being a senior coach again, but that the fire and passion was still there. In accepting, Eade said it would have taken a very special opportunity to "lure him from Collingwood" and that he probably would not have considered other offers. With perhaps the best player in the League in Gary Ablett and young guns such as Jaeger O’Meara, David Swallow, Dion Prestia, Jack Martin, Charlie Dixon, Sam Day, Tom Lynch, Kade Kolodjashnij, Rory Thompson, Steven May and a host of other budding stars, Eade said the opportunity to teach them the finer points of the game was a major reason for accepting the job. “Just the education process of teaching these guys ... how to be creative and be able to get the basics right and then be able to teach the nuance of the game to get advantages over the opposition ... there’s quite a bit of talent there.”

With player disgruntlement recently being speculated as the reason for the demise of Guy McKenna, Brenton Sanderson and Brendan McCartney, Eade acknowledged the difficulties with connecting with a new generation of players. He said that it would be a major focus and believes being away from the coaching box for three years has helped him and that he learned a bit from Magpie coach Nathan Buckley. "With younger players ... I think as long as you’re consistent and you can develop that relationship ... if you can have that sort of formal and informal, and actually talk to the players and it’s not all footy as well I think that will help ... the playing group wants to take their game to another level and that’s exciting for me.”

Of Eade's appointment, Gold Coast chairman John Witheriff said “We are really pleased to have landed someone with the credibility, knowledge and experience of Rodney Eade. We went out to identify the most appropriate person to lead us ... Gold Coast ... is moving in to a period where we expect ... to be playing finals football and aiming for sustained success.” Eade beat five others who were shortlisted for the job, whittled down from an original list numbering 150 candidates.

Born and raised in Glenorchy, Tasmania, Eade played in four premierships for Hawthorn during its glory era in the 1970s and 1980s before ending his career with the Brisbane Bears when the club was based at Carrara. Eade went on to coach the Bears to the reserves premiership in 1991 and then joined North Melbourne as an assistant coach. He coached the Kangaroos reserves in 1994 and 1995, winning his second reserve grade premiership in 1995. After completing a five-year apprenticeship, Eade was appointed senior coach of the Sydney Swans in 1996 and took the Swans to the Grand Final in his first season. The Swans had finished in 12th place in 1995 and finished in first place in 1996 for the first time in the club's history as either South Melbourne and/or Sydney.

Throughout his time as a senior coach with the Swans and the Bulldogs, Eade's teams were always competitive and made regular Finals appearances. After reaching three Preliminary Finals in six seasons with the Western Bulldogs, Eade joined Collingwood at the end of 2011 to become its football and coaching strategist before taking over as Director of Football midway through 2013. Eade coached 314 games for 162 wins with the Swans and Bulldogs. He coached those clubs into nine Finals series in 14 seasons.,,

Article last changed on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 4:09 PM EDT

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