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Lions go after Worsfold

Date

Jake Niall and Brad Elborough

John Worsfold looks on after his final game coaching West Coast at the weekend.

John Worsfold looks on after his final game coaching West Coast at the weekend. Photo: Getty Images

EXCLUSIVE

The Brisbane Lions have confirmed that they will make a formal approach to John Worsfold to see if the departed West Coast coach is interested in pursuing the Lions' coaching position.

Fairfax Media can reveal that the Lions approached Worsfold's management early this week - some days before his surprising decision to stand down on Thursday. Worsold's resignation was an abrupt about-face after he recently indicated a desire to continue. Lions football chief Dean Warren said the club would be approaching Worsfold as a matter of ''due diligence'' to see if he was interested in the job.

John Worsfold is to step down as coach of the Eagles.

John Worsfold is to step down as coach of the Eagles. Photo: Paul Kane

The Eagles, meanwhile, will look at both internal and external candidates in seeking a replacement for Worsfold, who unexpectedly quit before the club could complete its review of the coaching position. But there is no indication that the 2006 premiership coach is interested in pursuing the Lions job - for which interviews have been held in Melbourne this week. Worsfold did not attend the press conference announcing his exit.

West Coast assistant and midfield coach Scott Burns is the logical internal candidate to replace Worsfold, if the Eagles chose an insider.

Worsfold had sought a meeting late Thursday morning with the club's chief executive Trevor Nisbett and chairman Alan Cransberg (who was unable to attend) and informed Nisbett that he would be stepping down immediately and not seeking a contract extension. Worsfold had completed 12 seasons.

Cransberg told Fairfax Media he felt that it had been ''50-50'' about whether Worsfold would want to continue. ''I know he was thinking about it. He's very very thoughtful.'' While Brisbane is interested, it remains unclear whether Worsfold wishes to coach at another club.

Only on Saturday night after his side was thrashed by Adelaide did he declare that he thought he was the right person to set the club back on the right course. He also said he was confident he had the full support of the Eagles board, despite the 9-13 win-loss record.

Comments from shocked players, including Nic Naitanui, via Twitter indicate Worsfold's resignation was not expected.

But with Worsfold not at the packed media conference, ''doing odd things like picking up kids from school'', Cransberg said that he came to the decision by himself.

''We made a decision at the start of the year that we would sort out the coaching at the end of the year and that is something we have stuck to despite pressure from various media outlets that we should do it sooner rather than later,'' Cransberg said.

''John has certainly made that decision himself. We have talked to John right through about his future and the board, in fact, has a process in place that would have concluded by middle of September to determine the next coach of this football club.

''John made that decision independently of the club and again that is something you will need to talk to him about the reasons, but he has basically said that the time was right for someone else to step in to the chair.''

While a massive injury count has been blamed for the Eagles' tumble down the ladder to 13th position in 2013, massive losses in the final three weeks of the home and away season appear to have sealed Worsfold's fate. The Eagles lost to Geelong by 66 points in round 21, to Collingwood by 62 points in round 22 and to Adelaide by 86 points in round 23.

But even though Worsfold admitted after the insipid performance against the Crows that ''it's a year our club won't cop'', he remained confident that he had the full support of the board.

Worsfold said that he was preparing his blue-print for the future, which he was to present to the board as early as next week. It was believed to have included a two-year extension and a re-modelling of the way the football department operated.

The Lions have been casting the net wide in their pursuit of a coach, having interviewed Melbourne's caretaker coach and ex-Adelaide coach Neil Craig, along with some assistant coaches from different clubs, including Hawthorn's Adam Simpson.

24 comments so far

  • The lions board are starting to look really desperate

    Commenter
    janeygotagun
    Date and time
    September 05, 2013, 9:57PM
    • They haven't got that desperate that they are paying over the odds for a bloke who has achieved nothing.

      Commenter
      Mutant
      Date and time
      September 05, 2013, 10:26PM
    • Not just desperate but really dumb. Sacking a coach who did a reasonable job with one who had a better list and finished lower down the ladder.

      The guy is an arrogant dud. Who'd want a coach that thinks its only a game?

      Commenter
      wear the fox hat
      Date and time
      September 06, 2013, 12:58AM
    • The current lions board are beyond desperate... they need to land an experienced coach to justify sacking Voss (which could have been avoided if they'd waited until this week to do it).
      Sacking Voss to replace him with an unproven coach makes no sense... if that's the option then I agree with Robert Walls - they may aswell reinstate Voss for another couple of years. The current board can't do that - but a new board could. All power to that happening! If I was a member that's what I'd be pushing for given all other apparent experienced coaches have rejected the position already.
      Get behind the push for the EGM, and get Lethal on the board!

      Commenter
      Chris
      Date and time
      September 06, 2013, 1:40AM
    • The Lions board is run by stupid men in suits playing SuperCoach. They have made a rash decision without thinking through all of the angles and possibilities and it shows that they do not have a plan. Now they have a situation where they will be forced to make a compromised decision in order to get a senior coach for 2014.
      The board should be the ones to go, not Voss.

      Commenter
      We will always fight for victory
      Location
      Fitzroy
      Date and time
      September 06, 2013, 9:08AM
    • Not as desperate as you making stupid comments

      Commenter
      Paul
      Date and time
      September 06, 2013, 9:08PM
  • What’s so desperate about the Lions board making contact with Woosha to gauge his interest? He’s a gun coach who led the club through two rebuilds, consistently made finals and won a flag... Sounds like a good candidate to me.

    God spare us Neil ‘ Mumbles’ Craig who underachieved at Adelaide and presided over the Melbourne basket case for the last two years.

    Commenter
    Lion till I die
    Location
    Preston
    Date and time
    September 05, 2013, 10:46PM
    • Your team is a bit of a basket case sacking a good coach at a club function too Lion till I die.
      Guess your board thought Paul Roos was a certainty and jumped the gun too soon.
      Well your other so called basket case got Roos in the end so keep looking....

      Commenter
      IanLB
      Date and time
      September 06, 2013, 2:53PM
  • The eagles should chase Roo's. They have the money. Premiership in 2015

    Commenter
    pb
    Date and time
    September 05, 2013, 10:52PM
    • Too late pb..
      Go Dees...

      Commenter
      IanLB
      Date and time
      September 06, 2013, 2:36PM

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