An AFL coach is subject to constant speculation about the safety of their job, based on wins or expectations for the season. Some are under more pressure than others regardless of what their contract says but which one is on the hot seat for next season?
18: Adam Simpson (West Coast)
Simpson just delivered the Eagles their fourth premiership and unless his team doesn’t win a game next season, should be a guarantee to be the Eagles’ coach come 2020.
17: Alastair Clarkson (Hawthorn)
Widely recognised as the best coach in the game and one of the best ever, the super coach’s record almost guarantees him to decide when it’s time for him to step aside, however with the Hawks still in the premiership window, that doesn’t appear to be anytime soon.
16: Nathan Buckley (Collingwood)
Remarkably, if you do this list 12 months ago, the Pies legend was probably under the most pressure after six underwhelming seasons with the team. However, a stunning turnaround leading to a Grand Final berth and a kick from premiership number 16 has ‘Bucks’ in a strong position at Collingwood to launch an attack on the 2020 flag.
15: Damien Hardwick (Richmond)
The 2017 premiership coach will be forever in the hearts of Tiger fans after delivering a drought breaking flag and another strong season to follow up. With the addition of Tom Lynch, the Tigers will be looking like premiership challengers over the coming seasons.
14: Brad Scott (North Melbourne)
Scott led his team to a near finals berth in a season where many expected them to finish in the bottom three. Scott’s side is renowned for its toughness at the contest and will look to move into finals contention next year.
13: Chris Fagan (Brisbane)
After an exciting finish to the 2018 season, some are tipping the Lions to be a breakout side in the years to come. With a dynamic midfield group, now including Lachie Neale, it appears the powers that be at Brisbane back Fagan to take this team up the ladder and play finals for the first time since 2009.
12: Simon Goodwin (Melbourne)
After a spectacular final series, where the Demons won two finals, Simon Goodwin sits comfortable as the coach and will be looking to take his side all the way this year with the addition of Steven May.
11: John Longmire (Sydney)
The Swans coach holds the second best winning percentage among active coaches at 67 per cent, having played finals in every year he has been the head coach. The era of the great Swans teams may be coming to a close, with star Lance Franklin yet to taste the ultimate success since he moved north.
10: Stuart Dew (Gold Coast)
After a tough first campaign the job does not appear to be getting easier for Dew up on the Gold Coast, losing a host of experienced players in the off-season, including his two captains. With the Suns looking to stabilise their franchise, he should be safe for another season.
9: Chris Scott (Geelong)
The coach boasts the best win percentage in the AFL currently, winning 69 per cent of his games, yet has failed to fire in finals since winning the 2011 flag, including a poor performance in this year’s elimination final. With an ageing list that is desperate for a premiership, Scott could be in some trouble if the Cats do not improve on 2018.
8: Don Pyke (Adelaide)
The Crows had a horrific 2018 campaign with injury and the mental fortitude of the playing group questioned after they missed the finals comfortably. The Crows should still be thinking of a premiership with the talent on their list and Pyke will be under pressure to at least take this team back to September action.
7: Luke Beveridge (Western Bulldogs)
Beveridge was the talk of the town after the Bulldogs grabbed the 2016 flag after a remarkable two-year turnaround. Since then however, his team has missed the finals on back to back occasions and does not seem to be on the verge for contention again.
6: John Worsfold (Essendon)
After making the finals in 2017, many expected Essendon to be a premiership contender in 2018 with the moves they had made. However, the Dons were out of finals contention by round eight basically, playing catch-up the rest of the way home. With the addition of Dylan Shiel and a returning Joe Daniher, winning their first final since 2004 should be the minimum goal.
5: Ross Lyon (Fremantle)
The Dockers have missed the finals in each of the past three seasons and appeared to stagnate this season as a team that can play well at home but nowhere else. Adding Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb with a hopefully fit Nat Fyfe, Lyon will be expected to lead his team back into the top eight.
4: Brendon Bolton (Carlton)
Bolton’s team has progressively gotten worse since his first season, winning just two games this year in the worst year in Carlton history. With his younger players becoming more mature, plus the moves Carlton made this off-season, an improvement has to happen or Bolton could be gone.
3: Leon Cameron (GWS)
After the 2016 season ended, it was expected the Giants were about to run away with the league with the litany of talent they had. GWS however, still have not played in a Grand Final and with the core of this team about to be in their prime, Cameron will be under pressure to put his side in position to do so.
2: Alan Richardson (St. Kilda)
Rumors of Richardson’s impending doom began to surface late in season 2018 as the Saints regressed dramatically. After barely missing thee finals in 2016 and 2017, the Saints managed to win four games this year, finishing in 15th position. The Saints must improve on that to esnure ‘Richo’ stays the coach.
1: Ken Hinkley (Port Adelaide)
Ken Hinkley began his coaching career like a house on fire, taking a miserable Port Adelaide side to an elimination final in 2013 and one kick from a Grand Final in 2014. The team has not played finals since then and after being in the top four as late as Round 16 this season, lost six of their last seven games to miss the finals. The 2017 additions of Motlop, Watts and Rockliff need to fire to keep Hinkley in the job.