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