There are a number of experienced candidates available to fill the vacancy left by Don Pyke. But the Crows need an overhaul and a first-time coach would be the best fit, says Warren Tredrea.
An untried coach is the best way to reignite the Adelaide Crows into a competition powerhouse.
While experienced senior coaches of the ilk of Ross Lyon and Brad Scott are available, it’s unlikely they’re the perfect fit to fix the clubs woes.
While I favour Scott as someone the Crows should seriously consider, there is a belief around that he is burnt out from his 10-year senior coaching stint at North Melbourne and is keen on a break from club land.
But before the Crows start their search, they must first clearly identify the characteristics they need in their next coach to ensure their selection is a success.
The biggest issue facing the Crows is that before they can identify their next coach in the background they have an external review, the findings of which will be vital in identifying what type of leader they need.
And while Don Pyke was one of the first key first pillars to fall after the Crows alarming two year fall from grace, there will most certainly be more to follow, especially if his press conference is anything to go by when he mentioned: “With others, I believe I’m part of the problem”.
This alone suggest to me a he won’t be the last key pillar to make way — with pressure mounting on at least one of chief executive Andrew Fagan, football director Mark Riccuito and football operations boss Brett Burton to move on.
Now is the time to be bold.
Already the club would have enough information at their disposal to realise coach Pyke’s football program is broken and it needs, as he mentioned, “fresh air to move forward”.
And this means a young and enthusiastic coach to take over the reins at West Lakes, someone willing to get their hands dirty.
When you consider Adelaide’s playing list is in desperate need of a youthful rebuild by cleaning out dead wood and also players who don’t want to be there, it’s easy to see why a rookie coach is the best option to take the club forward.
Clearly there has been a breakdown in relationships between Pyke and key members of his football department and the players.
And while this continues to be denied, you don’t play in a grand final in 2017 and alarmingly fall off the perch and the miss finals two years in a row.
Trust has been broken and the first job for the new senior coach will be to rebuild it and bring the fun back to the football program — though action and not words.
This bring me to the candidates.
Justin Longmuir (Collingwood) — the former Fremantle forward is currently an assistant to Nathan Buckley at Collingwood. Longmuir appears the front runner to take over the reins at Fremantle. Has impressed in assistant coaching stints at West Coast and now Collingwood — must move quick to ask the question.
Scott Burns (Hawthorn) — the South Australian played 265 games at Collingwood, captaining the club. Has had successful assistant coaching stints at West Coast, Collingwood and Hawthorn. Burns was narrowly edged out of the Crows senior coaching role by Brenton Sanderson in 2011.
Ben Rutten (Essendon) — the former Crows star defender has been a success where ever he has been. Rutten was Richmond’s defensive coach for four seasons including the 2017 premiership, he then moved to Essendon at the end of 2018 and is currently favourite for the Adelaide coaching role.
Nathan Bassett (Port Adelaide) — former Crow defender Bassett is a highly credentialed assistant, having coached Norwood to two SANFL premiership’s, as well as assistant coaching stints at Essendon and now Port Adelaide.
Matthew Nicks (GWS) — after a successful playing career at the Sydney Swans, Nicks joined Port Adelaide in a Development role, then assistant roles as defence and offence coach. Has strong relationships with players, currently senior assistant to Leon Cameron at GWS and is ready to go.
Adam Kingsley (Richmond) — former Port Adelaide premiership player, Kingsley retired in 2006 and immediately joining Port Adelaide as an Assistant coach. Since joining Port Kingsley has been an assistant coach for 13 years with roles at Port Adelaide, St Kilda and currently Richmond.
Whoever Adelaide picks must be ready to re-engage a clearly disconnected playing group.
They must have a clear vision of how they want to play and which players can help them get there.
And while the playing stocks are set for an almighty shake of the tree in favour of young over experience.
Adelaide can’t afford to ignore key senior players who can play a vital role in leading and mentoring Adelaide’s next batch of young guns to ensure they develop as fast as possible.
The next coaching panel has one hell of a job on its hands, picking out a coach who can be there for the long haul.
They must get it right.