Sydney Swans assistant Stewart Dew confirmed on Thursday morning that he will not be applying for the head coaching position at the Brisbane Lions.
Dew just completed the AFL’s level four coaching course, and was heavily linked to the senior vacancies at the Adelaide Crows and Carlton Blues last season.
But one of the most highly touted coaches in waiting will not be taking the reins up at Brisbane next season, opting to see out his contract with Sydney, which ends at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
Call me crazy, but Dew’s decision not to apply is far from a poor outcome for the Lions.
Since concluding his football career in 2008, Dew went straight into coaching with the Swans in 2009, having now served as an assistant under premiership winning coaches Paul Roos and John Longmire for almost eight seasons.
Dew’s coaching credentials monster that of the previous two Brisbane head coaches, Michael Voss and Justin Leppitsch, at the time they took the job.
But there is one damming piece of evidence written on the files of all three men that the Lions simply cannot afford a third time in a row – “first time head coach”.
The obvious coaching talent Dew, or any other AFL level four coaching course graduate possesses, would surely see them do a better job with the Lions than either Voss or Leppitsch did.
But this is no ordinary coaching vacancy. This is not the situation rookie coach of Adelaide Don Pyke has found himself in. The new coach of Brisbane will not be taking over a talent laden, finals ready roster.
The man who accepts this job will be taking hold of club in the midst of a full scale rebuild, located in a state that is still not quite sure whether it likes AFL or not.
Despite the considerable lack of it going around at the moment, this should be a job that only a candidate with bountiful AFL coaching experience should apply for.
Someone looking for the greatest challenge they may face in their career.
Names that come to mind with the above criteria considered include Kevin Sheedy, Mick Malthouse and Paul Roos, all who, despite recent false dawns, look to have finally finished up their coaching careers for good.
Perhaps more obtainable names include Mark Thompson, Mark Williams and even Gary Ayres, who is still coaching in the VFL and knows what it takes to make it to an AFL Grand Final.
But names that have instead been mentioned in the same sentence as the Lions job (which should perhaps be known as the graveyard shift) include John Barker, Adam Kingsley, Brett Montgomery and David Noble, all with a combined zero games coached at AFL level.
More promising links include Brad Scott, Brett Ratten and Matthew Knights, who have at the very least coached at AFL level, as well as the former two having seen finals action.
An interesting name, who has of late vaulted into favouritism for the job, is Chris Fagan, football boss at the Hawthorn Hawks and formerly part of the coaching team at the Melbourne Demons.
Anyone who knows of the influence Fagan holds at Hawthorn, knows his appointment could prove to be a master stroke.
This could be the kind of appointment to turn around a failing club, but one that would certainly not come without giant risk.
Either way, considering the recent history of the head coaching position at Brisbane, we have eliminated two criteria that is apparently unnecessary for success, and perhaps even toxic to it at this certain club.
These two criteria are (a) club legend and (b) rookie head coach.
That’s not to say being a club legend cannot possibly result in success as head coach of the Lions – I have already put forth Paul Roos as a genuinely quality hire for this position, especially considering his recent work with Melbourne.
But as a rookie head coach, all the AFL coaching accreditations in Australia could surely not prepare one for the enormity of the role that is taking over the reins of this club.
After all, twice Brisbane has tried this in the last 10 years, and twice they have failed.
I am happy to be proved wrong, but I do not want the Lions to even try to do so.