Melbourne Football Club will look on this week as their darkest day in history, not only coming off a 186 point thrashing at the hands of Geelong, but also the sacking of coach Dean Bailey. The media have gone into overdrive this week, with news on Sunday night suggesting Bailey had been sacked, then rumour of rift involving CEO Cameron Schwab and Chris Connolly. The Demons have been in this position before, members and supporters still coming to grips with the loss of former skipper James McDonald and previous senior coach Neale Daniher. Norm Smith also fell victim to the axe in similar circumstances in the Dees golden era decades ago. As Don McLardy and Jim Stynes addressed a packed AAMI Park media conference, the football world knew that Dean Bailey had coached his last game down at Skilled Stadium at the weekend. Clearly the news has worn on Jim Stynes, battling his own illness, delivered the news along side McLardy followed by questions about the clubs future and speculation regarding which senior coach is primed for the top job.
Todd Viney was officially named as care-taker coach for the remainder of the season which sees the Demons with five games to play and still in serious contention to make the AFL final series. This weekend’s match against Carlton is looming as a massive contest – a huge crowd is expected, with a win from the Dees sure to turn such a dark dark wave of turmoil into a positive spark which might just ignite a charge towards September.
The rumour mill has kicked in with Mick Malthouse clearly an obvious target to take the coaching reins – a perfect fit for an experienced coach to come in to a young impressive Dees side. Alistair Clarkson’s name was also mentioned as a possible target – both Clarkson and Viney have worked together to take Hawthorn to a premiership flag. The union of the two, at the club they both played for still a strong possibility and almost an outside chance to play out. Other names to float around the coaching circle is that of Mark Williams, Paul Roos and Neil Craig.
Garry Lyon, a club champion and close friend of Stynes has said he will do everything in his power to help – but has ruled out coaching the team. Lyon, who has a huge media career is reluctant to take that next step forward and lead the Demons into a new era of premierships. Lyon said he will do anything to help his friend Jim, he finds it hard to say no, wants Stynes to look after his health and will do what it takes to help Jim with his role at the top as President.
Dean Bailey addressed the media in great spirits. He dropped a joke, spoke highly about the club and wished the playing group well this coming Saturday against the Blues. Cameron Schwab looked uneasy in the crowd as he watched Bailey speak, clearly distracted by what was unfolding, his scalp saved while Bailey was chopped and hung out to dry. Schwab’s contract was extended for one more season, with the focus now on Todd Viney to bring the team together and deliver something special against Carlton. Let’s not mention the ‘bruise-free’ tag that Carlton labelled Melbourne with after their earlier encounter this season. Saturday’s game should be a beauty and I ask for all Demons supporters to get to the MCG this weekend and support the team we love – yes through good times and bad. Clearly we are sitting on the fence leaning towards darkness at the moment, but after all the doom and gloom of last week, the Demons players are clearly holding their own fate in their hands and it will be up to them to stand up and play for the jumper.
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