Brad Scott left his position as head of football at the AFL six months ago to become coach of the Bombers. So why can’t the league name a replacement? Club bosses are baffled.
The AFL season will start in 10 days without a head of football, a position left vacant when Brad Scott departed in late September.
While the AFL is not fretting, club bosses are bewildered at how Australia’s biggest sport still hasn’t a football figurehead six months after Scott left to become coach of Essendon.
On Thursday, those same club bosses will grill the league at the annual meeting attended by club chief executives and presidents and league heavyweights, which is also the day of the season launch.
It’s a staggering state of affairs brought about because of the delay in naming Gill McLachlan’s replacement as chief executive, itself a saga that seems to have been running as long as Young and The Restless.
Now, clubs are restless.
The delay in replacing McLachlan is either a) it’s too close to call, b) they haven’t found the right candidate or c) AFL commission chairman Richard Goyder is allowing McLachlan his final days in the sun, which could see the Tasmanian team get the green light.
You know, the final deal, from the ultimate deal-maker.
It’s understood the AFL won’t appoint a head of football because the new CEO will have a major say — if not the say — on who fills football’s most senior position.
Andrew Dillon — who holds the longest title in footy: Executive General Manager of Football Operations, Legal Integrity and General Counsel — sits above the head of football role, but if Dillon replaces McLachlan, the league will need to find two senior executives — Dillon’s replacement and Scott’s replacement.
If all-rounder Dillon does not get the No. 1 job, he will likely remain in his role, leaving only Scott’s replacement to be found.
Why McLachlan’s position has not already been filled — he announced he was leaving in April last year — is a bone of contention among club bosses.
They are not wanting to pick a fight with Goyder on Thursday, but they do want some clarity from the boss.
But they almost certainly won’t get an answer on the CEO from Goyder, because it’s believed yet another round of interviews with key figures are being conducted this week.
As stated, the league is not panicking.
It says Dillon, who is the head of everything, and Laura Kane, who is the general manager of competition management, are across the football activities.
Kane’s role was freed up somewhat because there was no AFLW competition held over the summer, and, the league says, football experience is prevalent in other key football positions held by Dan Richardson and Grant Williams.
Still, there’s no official head of football operations, which is an inconvenient truth just 10 days out from a new season.
Originally published as Robbo: Clubs are restless as AFL still has no head of football just 10 days out from new season