Paul Roos was the first premiership coach the Demons have snared since Ron Barassi returned in 1981. Photo: Getty Images
Paul Roos needed the lure of a succession plan for him to accept the Melbourne coaching role late last season. By agreeing on Monday to remain at the club for a third season, until the end of 2016, Roos has done the right thing by the still fragile Demons, while ensuring such a plan could work with his successor given at least two years in the role.
Roos and the Demons may continue to talk about the benefits of this plan, but there's an equally compelling question that must be asked: is that plan still the best way forward?
Who's out of contract and when.
That's said in the context of there being only two of the 18 (or 19 if James Hird is included) current coaches - Ross Lyon and John Longmire - who are contracted beyond 2016.
This means dual Hawthorn premiership mentor Alastair Clarkson, a former Melbourne player and the man the previous Demons' board offered a lucrative deal to in 2011, will again be available. By that stage, Clarkson will have been with the Hawks for 12 years, and the era built around Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis, Jarryd Roughead and Lance Franklin - the latter admittedly already gone - will be over. Then aged 48, Clarkson could be tempted to leave on his terms and finish his career at the club where he played 41 games.
Another premiership coach, Chris Scott, could also be available unless the Cats offer him more than a one-year extension. Brad Scott, Brenton Sanderson and Damien Hardwick could also be available, so, too, Nathan Buckley, although it would appear he almost certainly will be offered an extension by the Magpies.
Then there is Stuart Dew, the former Hawthorn and Port Adelaide premiership player who is an assistant to Longmire. Roos had wanted Dew as his chief lieutenant, the pair having worked together in Sydney, until this was thwarted by the Swans late last year when he agreed to a three-year deal, keeping him at the club until - you guessed it - the end of 2016. He is one to keep a particular eye on.
Roos may have wanted to immerse his successor in his philosophy and game plan. In Dew, Roos already has done this, even if he fulfils his contract with the Swans.
That Dew and a plethora of senior coaches will be available in a little over two years should mean there is no rush for the Demons to instigate the succession plan.
If a suitable candidate comes along, so be it. If Cameron Ling wants the job, he would appear to have the right credentials, but that doesn't guarantee he will be a successful senior coach in terms of dealing with all that is expected on and off the field.
The Demons are still recovering from period of coaching turbulence, having punted on two rookie head coaches.
At Roos' introductory press conference last year, chief executive Peter Jackson said it was the biggest moment in the club's history since Ron Barassi stunned the football world by leaving the Demons and heading to Carlton in 1965. Roos was the first premiership coach the Demons had snared since Barassi returned in 1981.
Imagine what the reception would be if the next man they unveiled was Clarkson?
In February this year, Jackson said the Demons' fortunes would not be solely dictated by an injection of almost $1 million into the football department.
"To be honest, if you go back over for the last 15 years and probably in reality the last 50 years ... culture and list management is what has won premierships," Jackson said.
"I still don’t believe that the amount you spend [is the determining factor] – and I know there’s some suggestions at the moment there is – but it goes deeper than that.
"Maybe the [successful] clubs have also been very good at list management and culture because they are the drivers. I don’t think Geelong sit in the top four or five of spending. I wouldn’t be absolutely sure of that but I know that they turned their club around because of list management and culture, not because of how much money they spent."
Ling knows all about that. So, too, does a Chris Scott or Clarkson.