Sydney has blocked Paul Roos' bid to anoint his former Swans assistant Stuart Dew as his coach-in-waiting at Melbourne, refusing to release Dew from his contract.
Roos' latest attempt to plunder his old club has seen the intervention of Swans chief executive Andrew Ireland, who communicated the club's determination to hold on to to Dew to Melbourne counterpart Peter Jackson.
The unusual nature of Melbourne's coaching structure will have a senior assistant appointed under Roos and contractually guaranteed the senior coaching position as early as 2016 and 2017 at the latest.
Roos and Jackson argued that Dew should remain subject to the AFL coaching environment's ''gentlemen's agreement'', which allows assistant coaches to be released from their contracts for a senior role. Leon Cameron was released from Hawthorn to Greater Western Sydney at the end of last season even though he would not become senior coach until 2014.
The Swans begged to differ where Dew was concerned, leaving Hawthorn assistant Adam Simpson, departing Swans assistant Leigh Tudor and West Coast assistant Scott Burns firmly in the frame to work under Roos before almost certainly replacing him.
Senior coach John Longmire is believed to have made his position clear to Dew that the 34-year-old was required at Sydney. The Swans had already considered extending Dew's contract beyond next season, although Dew was reportedly tempted by Roos' approach.
Roos has already been taken to task by chairman Richard Colless for targeting Sydney personnel. Colless told Sydney's Daily Telegraph on Saturday: ''Paul's actions massively devalue his standing at the club … I'm unbelievably disappointed in his actions … I consider taking players from the academy he has helped build is an absolute breach of protocol and a gentlemen's agreement.''
Colless was reportedly referring to the Sydney academy's promising teenager Lloyd Perris, whom Sydney plans to take with its final draft pick and retain on the club's rookie list.
The contentious nature of Roos' relationship with the academy - for which he was paid about $320,000 a year to head part-time - raised eyebrows at the weekend following the public criticism by his former chairman, but internally Sydney was equally disappointed at Roos' attempt to poach the contracted Dew.
The Swans reportedly have given the out-of-contract development coach George Stone their blessing to join Roos at the Demons given that he has been commuting to Sydney.
Roos' all-powerful standing at Melbourne was underlined on Tuesday when the club announced that Josh Mahoney would remain the Demons' football boss despite Jackson previously stating his priority would be to appoint a senior football operations boss overseeing the entire department. While Mahoney will head the football operation, Roos will oversee the coaches and report to CEO Jackson.
Dew's standing at Sydney, which he joined in Roos' last season as coach, has increased during his three-year apprenticeship. After the Swans won the flag in 2012, Longmire was invited to address the AFL Commission and did so with Dew alongside him.
Dew was a premiership player at Port Adelaide where he played for a decade and then at Hawthorn where he proved an unlikely hero in its 2008 grand final victory.