by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Just days after the Suns were defeated by Melbourne in Round 20. the club announced that Coach Rodney Eade's contract would not be extended. Eade was told by the board on the Monday following the Suns' loss. The board voted unanimously not to retain Eade who decided not to see out the year. Assistant coach Dean Solomon will take the reins for the final games.
Chairman Tony Cochrane, while praising Eade for improving the culture and professionalism, said it came down to the win-loss record and essentially being in the same position as they were after firing inaugural coach Guy McKenna at the end of the 2014 season. Cochrane said, "At the start of this year we had a very strong belief ... that we would challenge for the top eight and we simply have failed ... We are simply in the same position ... as we were three years ago and that's not good enough ... ". In making the decision, CEO Mark Evans said the board did consider the horror run of injuries which has prevented the club from presenting their best 22 on any given game day, "In the early years, Rodney would be quite straight in saying he didn't have a lot of player availability and that would ultimately impact wins and losses, but when you're reviewing the totality ... you're not looking deep ... you're assessing now, and ... what the future is. With all of those elements, we've come to the decision that that will require a new senior coach."
Evans also conceded that "a number of improvements" were required and would be addressed as part of the football department review with football manager Marcus Ashcroft, list manager Scott Clayton and the four assistant coaches, including Solomon, not assured for next year.
Cochrane would not be drawn into a discussion of a possible replacement, but it is believed Sydney assistant Stuart Dew, Hawthorn assistant and former Carlton coach Brett Ratten and Carlton assistant John Barker (who lost his bid for the senior position to Brendan Bolton) are favored candidates. Barker, who has agreed to but to sign a two year contract extension, has recently completed a Level four Coaching course. Even if he had put pen to paper, Carlton would not stand in his way if he got the Suns' job. Prior to joining Gold Coast, Evans was involved with a review of the Brisbane Lions and actually recommended Barker for the senior job before Chris Fagan was appointed.
Other possible candidates are St Kilda assistant Adam Kingsley, Blake Caracella (Richmond) and former Brisbane coach and current assistant at Port Michael Voss, as well as assistants who graduated alongside Barker Robert Harvey (Collingwood), Simon Lloyd (Geelong), Matthew Nicks (Port Adelaide).
Evans made it clear the club would be careful about approaching candidates whose teams are still in the Finals come September and would also seek permission from club CEO's to speak with contracted assistants.
Source: theage.com.au, afl.com.au
Article last changed on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 12:46 PM EDT