Rodney Eade. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
RODNEY Eade has ruled out a potential return to senior coaching at Port Adelaide, telling the Power's coaching panel on Tuesday night that he intended to remain at Collingwood.
In a move which now has Brett Ratten an even stronger favourite to take the job, Eade has also assured Magpies chief executive Gary Pert that he did not present for the Port job but simply held preliminary talks with that club's CEO Keith Thomas and his panel.
"My understanding after talking with 'Rocket' was that he was very impressed with Port's vision for the future and their general football direction," Pert told The Age.
"But he has also indicated he would not be presenting for the job and intends to see out his contract with Collingwood which has two years remaining."
Eade is understood to have assured Pert that reports he presented for the coaching position over several hours in Melbourne on Tuesday night were incorrect. He said he had agreed out of courtesy to meet the Port panel — which also includes Peter Schwab and Tom Harley along with club football boss Peter Rohde and Power deputy chairman Kevin Osborn — in Melbourne.
Thomas said that he had met Eade over coffee but that the veteran coach is not a candidate.
Eade's version is understood to be in harmony with that of Thomas, who is a personal friend of Pert's. The Collingwood CEO had previously instructed Nathan Buckley's coaching team that the club would not tolerate assistant coaches presenting for coaching positions while the Magpies' season was still alive. Eade has satisfied him that Tuesday night's meeting with Port was nothing of the sort.
Collingwood is firm in the view that Scott Watters' and Mark Neeld's focus was distracted given that the pair were both preparing presentations for senior coaching jobs during the 2011 finals series. Pert has been a key driver in drawing up new guidelines in a coaching code of conduct to prevent a repeat of such a scenario.
The club lost Neeld before the preliminary final because senior coach Mick Malthouse did not want him on the team once he had signed with Melbourne. The Magpies suffered a similar loss two years earlier when Brad Scott signed with the Kangaroos.
Eade said at Collingwood's Wednesday training session that his focus was completely on the Magpies. "My 100 per cent focus is with Collingwood. We've had a couple of big weeks now, and hopefully we've still got a couple of big weeks to go and my whole focus is totally with them."
Ratten has openly pushed his interest in coaching Port Adelaide which is due to undergo an off-season of major restructure, with the AFL to take over the club's licence from the SANFL.
The former Carlton captain and premiership player has indicated he would be keen for a decision from Port before the end of September to allow him more time to immerse himself in his new club. A decision is expected next week with the process delayed by the tragic death in Las Vegas of John McCarthy.
Ratten has also come highly recommended by his old club Carlton and in particular Blues president Stephen Kernahan — a source of some initial suspicion from Port. However Carlton, while still negotiating the structure of Ratten's payout with his management — has insisted the sacked coach would be paid out in full whether or not he coached again next season.
Respected assistant coaches Leon Cameron (Hawthorn) and Scott Burns (West Coast) have both ruled themselves out of contention to replace Matthew Primus.