The Usual Suspects

Experience will be Melbourne’s main prerogative when selecting its next senior coach, after two unsuccessful stints under the untried Dean Bailey and Mark Neeld.


The usual suspect’s will feature in the Demons hunt for a new coach.


A rebuild of a rebuild, the Melbourne senior coaching job may not be the most sought after position in football, but for the right person it could prove a renovators delight.

So who has the tools to transform a crumbling football club, into a respectable aboard?

Here are some of the prime candidates. 

Paul Roos (202 games coached: Sydney Swans 2002-2010)


Paul Roos has been linked to the recently vacated Melbourne senior coaching position (Source: The Age)

Roos has been the first point of call from Dee’s chief executive Peter Jackson, though at this stage in proceedings is understood to be disinterested in reentering AFL coaching ranks altogether.

The 2005 premiership coach saying on Fox Footy earlier this week he had no “burning desire to coach” at least for the time being.

News Limited has reported in the past week that Melbourne would be need to table a lucrative long-term, multi-million dollar contract to entice the 49-year-old out of retirement.

”Everyone talks about Paul Roos all the time. The question is, whether he wants it or not,” Jackson said.

However there have been murmurings that Brisbane, rather than Melbourne is the preferred suitor of Roos.

Mark ‘Choco’ Williams (274 games coached: Port Adelaide 1999-2010)


Williams mocks critics who claimed Port were chokers, after winning the 2004 AFL Grand Final (Picture: Herald Sun)

On face value Williams would seem the man for the job, despite the Port Adelaide premiership coach having yet to declare an interest in patching the sinking ship that is Melbourne.

Though his younger brother, Stephen Williams, earlier this week told News Limited he had no doubt his brother still has “the fire in his belly” to become a senior coach.

Currently employed at Richmond as a senior development coach on a two year contact, it is unlikely the Tigers would stand in Williams way should he decide to journey across the road.

Indeed Richmond captain Trent Cotchin gave a glowing endorsement of Williams on Seven’s Game Day: “He’s so good with the young players, which is probably suited to a Melbourne, and from all reports he was fantastic with the young guys at GWS as well”

Going on to say: “He drives you up the wall at times, but he would absolutely get the best out of a young group of individuals.”

However it remains unclear if the AFL – who will oversee the Demons coaching search – will readily accept any application from Williams, given the 54-year-olds ugly exit from both the Power and GWS.

Rodney Eade (314 games coached: Sydney Swans 1996-2002; Western Bulldogs 2005-2011)

Much like Williams, Eade still believes he has the “fire in the gut” to coach at the elite level.

However the 55-year-old is uncertain whether he is prepared to do away with his coaching strategist role at Collingwood.

Eade has said publicly he wouldn’t reject a call from Jackson: “If they [Melbourne] did happen to want to have a chat, well we’d see what happened then… But if they didn’t, that’s no drama. I’m certainly happy where I am at the moment.” Eade told Fox Footy’s AFL 360.

Neil Craig (167 games coached: Adelaide 2004-2011) 

The interim coach is still tossing up whether to throw his hat in the ring at years end, Craig stating he would reevaluate his next step after “sitting in the chair again for 11 weeks”. 

Melbourne gave a respectable showing in their first game with Craig at the helm, the Demons dealt a 35-point loss at the hands of St. Kilda.

However in spite of Craig’s lofty credentials, any push to pursue the Demons top job would likely be damaged by his inability to produce results as Neeld’s mentor.  

Matthew Knights (65 games coached: Essendon 2008-2010) 


Matthew Knights has turned heads in his 18-months as senior coach of the Geelong reserves (Source: Sporting Pulse)


Matthew Knights has been lurking in the football shadows since his unhappy departure from Essendon in 2010. 

Though may be due for a return to AFL, with his work as coach of the Geelong reserves in the past two season not going unnoticed.

Knights leading the reserves to a premiership last year and an equal best (8-2) record through 11 rounds of the 2013 VFL season.

Callum Godde is a second-year Journalism (sport) student at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter @Calgodde.



One thought on “The Usual Suspects

  1. u summed this up pretty well cal but if they take roos for big dollars does not leave to much money for the devolpment which they are lacking

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