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Coach goes 'to avert exodus'

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Scott Watters will be 'angry' and 'embarrassed'

The three-club AFL player is sacked as St Kilda coach and Fairfax sports writer Michael Gleeson says the news will have blindsided him.

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Saints lose patience

Scott denies disharmony

St Kilda believed it was set to lose more than 10 staff if it had kept Scott Watters on as coach when it made the startling decision to sack him on Friday.

Scott Watters .... the coach's interaction with players and staff away from match day concerned the club.

Scott Watters .... the coach's interaction with players and staff away from match day concerned the club. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

The decision was attacked by former Hawthorn champion Dermott Brereton, who in a radio interview was brutal in his criticism of Saints football chief Chris Pelchen, who had previously been at Hawthorn.

St Kilda has drafted a shortlist of potential candidates to take over as coach, including former Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams, highly regarded Port assistant Alan Richardson, Saints assistant Adam Kingsley and former club great Robert Harvey, who has worked as an assistant at Carlton and is the senior assistant at Collingwood.

A panel will be established to choose the coach. It will comprise St Kilda football director Andrew Thompson, Pelchen and most likely a recently retired player, such as Jason Blake, and someone of coaching experience.

The decision on a new coach will be made within weeks, probably ahead of the national draft, according to club president Peter Summers.

A board meeting at 8am on Friday decided not to postpone what it considered the inevitable and voted to terminate Watters' contract immediately, two years into his three-year term.

Coincidentally, the decision came on the first day of the football financial year, meaning the $400,000 payout will be included in this year's figures, not last year's.

Summers described the decision to sack Watters as a "strong" decision, but would give no further explanation of the reasons.

"The decision of the board today was not an easy decision and the result of a significant and considered process," he said.

Last month, the board, in considering the football element of a club review, had voted to sack Watters, but then elected not to.

When Thompson handed down the review of the football department, the club agreed it had the right people in place in the right structure.

Summers said that was accurate at the time, but the change between then and Friday, when the board chose to sack Watters, was about how Watters had responded - or, implicitly, had failed to respond - to the changes that were implemented as a result of recommendations in the review.

There had been friction with key figures and complaints on Watters' behaviour with other staff. ''The issue around some of the personality issues, we addressed those in the review. Were they a strong factor in this morning's decision? No,'' Summers said.

He would say only there was no single reason for the sacking, but that the detail of the number of issues that had prompted the decision, as well as the issue of a payout, would remain private.

The Saints' move came only hours after Watters rang Melbourne radio station SEN to correct what he considered were ''laughably inaccurate" reports about friction at the club and that his future at the club was grim. He said Summers and others at the club had sat before him and spoken of him as the long-term coach of the club who would soon be reappointed.

"When the president sits with you and says he sees you as a long-term coach, that's enough for me," Watters said on SEN. Hours later, he was sacked.

Summers did not deny having that conversation with Watters, saying only that he would encourage every staff member of the club to have a long and successful career at the club.

â– Jeremy Laider switched from Carlton to Sydney and Daniel Cross from Western Bulldogs to Melbourne as delisted free agents on Friday.

20 comments so far

  • C'mon footy media - if this was Richmond there would be screaming headlines about how pathetic and unstable the Tigers are, but we never see the venom when other clubs who do actually "sack" coaches (and that means dismissing them before their contract expires) that the Tigers always cop.

    Let's see St.Kilda (and others, like Melbourne) get bagged for their ongoing inability to maintain stability at any level get the same treatment as others, or would that be asking too much?

    Date and time
    November 01, 2013, 3:50PM
    • As a St Kilda supporter, I would have thought Richmond gets off fairly well under the Caro regime; and St Kilda gets a regular kicking.

      Date and time
      November 01, 2013, 4:08PM
    • why wouldn't St Kilda sack the coach? Melbourne sacked theirs and now have a premiership coach in Paul Roos, with the AFL contributing. I'm sure St Kilda has already mailed their request to AFL House for a premiership coach too

      Saint Matthew
      Date and time
      November 01, 2013, 4:24PM
    • you're so right - not a single bad word or criticism has been written about Melbourne, Essendon or any other team that has had issues this year.... poor tiges cop everything and no one else ever gets a harsh word written about them...

      get a grip and open your eyes..

      Date and time
      November 01, 2013, 4:36PM
  • "... Drifting into matters beyond the realm of the coach..." Does that mean, trying to address the off-field behavioral issues St Kilda football players so frequently exhibit?

    Little wonder if consecutive Saints coaches have "fall[en] into [this] trap. *Someone* has to tackle this stuff.

    Respect & Responsibility. Please.
    Date and time
    November 01, 2013, 4:18PM
    • Bingo

      Max Power
      Date and time
      November 02, 2013, 7:32AM
  • They should take a punt on Scotty Burns.. he had good reviews over at the Eagles.. was probably unlucky not to get their top coaching role.

    Date and time
    November 01, 2013, 4:28PM
    • This is a very poor club with a poor history. They have no loyalty to their coaches and have a very, very bad culture. They do not deserve success and will never have it whilst such disloyalty and bad culture exist. Problem is they are too dumb to see it form the players, to the administrators, to the supporters and a new blind, naive president.

      Date and time
      November 01, 2013, 8:29PM
      • The only way to build any successful organisation is to set a course and stick to it. You must have the courage to hold the line through ordeal and failure and adversity.
        Richmond had failed to heed this lesson for 30 years and now finally understands how important stability is as the foundation of success and will reap the hard fought rewards. Melbourne now has this right with the Roos succession plan or so it seems.
        StKilda, Brisbane, Collingwood are all at risk unless they set a course and stick to it. Gold Coast's decision to reappoint McKenna and stay the course in their list strategy when they could have blinked will be the foundation of that club's imminent success.
        If club administration respond to impatient stakeholders like players, supporters and footy media you are destined to fail. StKilda need to take a deep breath if its not already too late.

        Date and time
        November 01, 2013, 9:36PM
        • While many of its supporters are successful, St Kilda is a loser football club which just can't get basic things right. Clearly there is an ingrained cultural problem and a constant lack of ability to make good decisions. It simply doesn't deserve to win another premiership. Perhaps it should merge with Melbourne.

          D R Frenkel
          Date and time
          November 02, 2013, 8:32AM

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