Essendon President Paul Brasher has resigned from his role, effective immediately.
The announcement of an internal review in the middle of the Bombers' incredibly disappointing season reportedly drew the ire of fellow board members with many in the boardroom calling for the review to be conducted externally.
However, Brasher believed the club would be able to address the issues at hand from within.
Having finished eighth last season, the alarming drop-off from the Bombers saw the club look for answers. Brasher reportedly believed that adding resources to what the Bombers already boasted was the way to return the league's equal most successful club to its past glories.
It now seems that Brasher could be the first of many dominos to fall in the wake of the 2022 campaign that sees the Bombers 15th on the ladder with a 7-14 record.
Brasher said in a statement that he was honoured to have served the club.
“The decision to extend the substantial work already done in examining our football program to add additional external aspects into the review will set the tone for our club in the years ahead,” Brasher said.
“Under the constitution, my term as a board member must end next year. Rather than wait until the middle of 2023, I believe it is most important that the person who will act as President in the years ahead should be the person who oversees the review.
“Therefore, I have decided it makes sense for me to step down now from the position of President. I love this club and will do whatever I can to assist it over the remainder of my term. Dave will have my full support.”
Reports surfaced early on Monday morning about the future of both Brasher and head coach Ben Rutten, but at this stage Rutten's job is safe.
CEO Xavier Campbell is a supporter of Rutten and told media that "Ben (Rutten) is our coach" after returning from the board meeting Monday afternoon.
“There’s ongoing discussions at board level. They will continue this week,” he went on to say.
“I have not spoken to Alastair Clarkson.”
Campbell recently signed a new two-year deal with that deal coming under scrutiny given the club's current predicament and with Brasher now gone questions could be set to arise again about the tenability of Campbell's position.
Rutten is also contracted for 2023 and while the club haven't given any indication he won't see out his current deal, whispers about the potential arrival of Alistair Clarkson are beginning to grow louder.
Disharmony at The Hangar spreads far wider than just at board level with reported tension between list manager Adrian Dodoro and footy manager Josh Mahoney coming to the surface in recent weeks.
The Bombers have confirmed an external review into their football department will take place.
"Two weeks ago, the internal review of the football department was tabled at a scheduled Board meeting. Since that date, the Board has met several times and formed the view on the need for additional external inputs, which will now take place under the scope of an external review," a club statement reads.
A vote was held earlier today to determine the next President of the club with Dave Barham now taking the role.
“First of all, I am delighted that Paul has agreed to stay on. His experience and knowledge is invaluable,” Barham said.
“This club is one of the greatest sporting institutions in this country. This year, we celebrated our 150-year history. It makes us one of the oldest and most successful clubs in the world.
“However, over the past two decades, on field success has eluded us. We need to change this.
“We need to place a laser-like focus on our football performance above everything else. We need to build a platform, that will bring us sustainable success.
“The view of the Board is that we cannot continue to only review ourselves and hope that things will change. Whilst the review was thorough and well done, the Board has determined that our club needs further external aspects added into our analysis.
“We need to accept where we are, look hard at what best practice in AFL football is, reset, and then begin our fight back to winning premierships.
“No one is underestimating the task at hand, but it must start sometime and today is the day.
“We are confident we can do this. The broader club is in excellent shape, has outstanding facilities and a hardworking and valued administration.
“To all Bomber fans, this is a line in the sand moment.
“We will need your continued support and help to do this, but I know we can count on you, as you have never let us down, ever.
“There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about our future. This work will mean we the board can be in the best position to make what are very important decisions about our future.”