HAWTHORN football boss Graham Wright has detailed the difficult decisions AFL clubs are having to make to adapt to the game’s biggest challenge in 75 years.
Wright’s close confidant and Hawks senior coach Alastair Clarkson earlier on Friday said the coronavirus’ impact on society and the AFL was as significant as any since World War II.
The AFL and clubs are feeling the pinch financially and that’s resulted in hundreds of employees being at least temporarily stood down amid uncertainty on the industry’s future.
Hawthorn, like all clubs, had to pick a maximum of 25 football department staff who are able to be in contact with players and can attend training and playing facilities.
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That’s seen all areas at the Hawks reduced, with head of development and learning Damian Carroll, VFL coach Max Bailey, VFLW coach Bec Goddard and development coaches Torin Baker, Marco Bello, Brett Deledio and Andy Otten all stood down.
There is a mix of full-time and part-time coaching positions among those, and Clarkson, Wright and co. are yet to decide exactly how their workload will be split between the remaining staff.
Director of coaching and ex-Carlton senior coach Brendon Bolton is one whose role will evolve.
“I think it’s a case that everyone will be doing more in the short term,” Wright told AFL.com.au.
“We’ve looked at all the roles everyone’s been doing, the absolute main things they’ve been doing, and what do we need to make sure we keep going.
“We’re never going to replace everyone, because you just can’t, but what do we really need in the short term on what they were doing and how do we spread that across people?
“The reality for us, and I presume other clubs, is it’s just going to look different and you might not get the level of expertise you had only a couple of months ago, purely because of weight of numbers.”
Wright said it was simply “part of the job” to make the necessary decisions to keep the club going.
“It’s something every GM of footy is going through and it’s not just coaches. It’s development, it’s IT, it’s strength and conditioning – it’s every area,” he said.
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“The only thing you can say about it is while it’s unbelievably challenging and unique … every club that’s involved in the AFL is dealing with these issues.
“When we’re dealing with soft caps and restrictions on numbers the AFL gives us, we’ve basically got our hands tied and we all have to make tough decisions.
“You’re dealing with super high-quality people who have been fantastic for your footy club and we just don’t know what the future’s going to hold for us.”
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Carroll, Deledio and Otten are offering their services on ex-AFL footballer Andrew Raines’ One on One Football website.
Others available for one-on-one coaching include Mark Williams, Nathan Burke, Andrew Swallow, Hamish McIntosh, Josh Fraser, Jaymie Graham, Michael Barlow, Shane Woewodin, Simon Black and Daniel Menzel.