St Kilda’s football department is supposed to be preparing to stop reigning premiers Richmond in Maddie’s Match on Sunday.
But instead, a few of Brett Ratten’s coaching team are back on the tools trying to make ends meet as the world comes to grips with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Defence coach Aaron Hamill – the longest serving coach at Moorabbin – runs a pool business with his brother Lawrence and will put all his energy into Hamill Pools while the season is on hold.
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Offence coach Brendon Lade is a qualified carpenter and has worked on a construction site since the season was shut down less than an hour after St Kilda was beaten by North Melbourne in Round 1.
The Port Adelaide premiership ruckman revealed his new day job during an interview on Fox Footy Live last week.
Sandringham coach Ben McGlynn has returned to his home in Mildura to do some labouring with his brother.
While assistant development coach Robbie Chancellor, who has transitioned from analytics to focus on stoppages and structures under Ratten, is turning his attention to study amid the uncertainty.
Player development manager Tony Brown, who played 108 games for the Saints before returning to the club to look after welfare nearly a decade ago, is helping other coaches and football department staff find employment amid the biggest financial crisis the game has ever faced.
St Kilda – like almost every club – was forced to stand down 85 staff members last Monday, with only eight football department staff remaining.
Of those who remain, including key figures Ratten, Simon Lethlean and David Rath, most are only being paid for two or three days per week as the club looks to survive.
Those inside St Kilda – who are no longer working out of RSEA Park – say Ratten has risen to the occasion during this difficult period, remaining in contact with not just every player on the list, but all those inside the football department.
Football departments are expected to shrink in 2021 and beyond as the game looks to cope with the financial toll of the pandemic, with less coaches, recruiters, analysts and high performance staff expected to be on the books.