Former Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna has hit back at criticism from Suns’ chairman Tony Cochrane.
Cochrane said last month the AFL should not have appointed an inexperienced coach such as McKenna when the club started in 2011 and also criticised the club’s culture during McKenna time at the club.
“I think they (AFL) made some chronic errors and with great respect to our inaugural coach, there is no way we should have had a junior coach,” Cochrane said on radio station SEN in May.
“One of the outstanding things they did in Sydney was putting Kevin Sheedy up there (at GWS) and Mark Williams for those first couple of years.
“That really would have helped enormously with what was a group of young boys. Let’s face it 17 and 18 year olds need enormous direction and purpose in life.
“And it’s just a shame the AFL didn’t make a similar decision up here and perhaps given us Leigh Matthews for those first couple of years.
“(Rodney Eade) has done a superb job of changing the culture up here. We were in a bit of a mess before Rodney turned up.
“He is what I call a real senior coach, he has got the long pants on. He has created a much much stronger, better environment.”
But McKenna says that Cochrane’s claims that the appointment was a mistake are off the mark.
“His point was about experience versus youth,” McKenna said on Perth radio station 6PR on Monday.
“Well Choco Williams and Kevin Sheedy had five flags and about 2000 games of experience.
“And in that period of time he talks about – the (first) four years in the AFL –well, if you want to go tit for tat, GWS won 21 games, and our coaching group was able to win 24.
“So with no experience, I don’t think that was a bad job.
“I’m not saying I was perfect or the club was perfect.
“But I was part of the football club that gave a lot of boys their opportunity in the AFL. I’m certainly proud of what we started up on the Gold Coast.”