It’s impossible to picture Malthouse in a backseat role
Collingwood has copped a truckload of bumps - mostly off the field - in its quest to win back-to-back premierships.
A year of troublemakers, distractions and criticisms has added fuel to the Pies’ fire. The players will tell you they’re hungry to win consecutive AFL flags under Mick Malthouse’s leadership.
The Pies’ efforts are working to great effect, and the players realise they are in top nick for another crack at the flag.
Malthouse is determined as ever to prove his worth as a premiership coach. Since he breathed the words “f….. rapist” at Saint goalsneak Stephen Milne last year, Malthouse bounced back from hefty criticism to enjoy his best year of coaching.
Malthouse’s courage to confront his mistake and direct his energy into first-rate coaching earned him the ultimate prize. Although Geelong and Hawthorn are also in the hunt, the Magpies boast a well-balanced team with an insatiable hunger to reclaim the flag.
Malthouse is a proud man - astute and influential - who will struggle to take a back seat if the Pies win the flag.
Pies assistant coach Nathan Buckley is champing at the bit to take the lead when Malthouse eases back. How could a powerful coach sit back and be happy to operate in a relatively passive role?
I’m tipping that Malthouse won’t be a director of coaching next year. If the Pies win, it would be embarrassing for Malthouse to step out of the spotlight. He’s been the main man since 1984 - an AFL career coach whose toughness, passion and results have allowed him job security.
Once a commander always a commander. Could you imagine the great Wayne Bennett sitting behind a main man in the NRL coach’s box? What about the thought of NFL legendary coach Vince Lombardi taking on a passive job after his heyday? Laughable, isn’t it?
AFL coaching great David Parkin has publicly warned Collingwood about the coach-coaching director set-up. It failed badly at Hawthorn with the Peter Schwab-DavidParkin combo. Collingwood should listen to Parkin and avoid a huge trap - if Malthouse becomes director of coaching.
Pride will often get in the way when a reluctant person steps aside - especially if they are proven to be the year’s best coach in the country for Australia’s most popular sport.
If Collingwood secures its consecutive premiership, president Eddie McGuire and co. should seriously consider ripping up the coaches’ contracts and going back to the drawing board.
Common sense must prevail in these power issues - and rewarding people whose tough leadership delivers stunning results.
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