Essendon coach Ben Rutton’s exit from the club is intensifying as the Bombers make a late start for Alastair Clarkson.
Channel 9 reports Essendon met with Clarkson and management on Monday at the club where club president Paul Brasher stepped down, along with David Barram, who was in favor of an external review rather than an internal one. Recently completed, handed over.
It comes after Herald Sun reporter John Ralph said Rutten’s role as Bombers manager was “untenable” and several board members, including Kevin Sheedy, did not support him.
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Although Rutten will remain in his role on Monday, Fox Footy’s Mark Robinson thinks his future is now “hanging by very thin threads.” AFL 360 Co-host Gerard Wylie agreed that Clarkson could be installed in his place later in the week.
Robinson believes Rutten’s departure from Essendon has been building for some time and there were signs in the club’s 84-point loss to Port Adelaide on Sunday.
“After the add-ons saga, I believe (Essendon) don’t want to offend anyone. They were playing vanilla football, Ben Root went in and they were playing vanilla football.
“They’re walking down this waterway … meanwhile, watching Carlton, Collingwood kicking and this football club sitting in the bottom six. It just wasn’t good… definitely no confidence (in Rutten).
“That performance against Port Adelaide was the stupidest performance by any team this year. Ben is not an overrated coach, but when you look at yesterday, it’s not coaching, it’s human emotion. Show something because your players aren’t. As he knows.
“To put on a performance like that, the heart has gone. The heart has gone out of the club, the team.
“They told him today: ‘Ben… we’re going after Alastair Clarkson. I don’t know if we’re going to meet him. If we don’t, we will have another discussion. But if we get him, sorry mate, you’re gone and Alastair Clarkson will be in. This could happen tomorrow.”
“When you’ve got the three clubs in front of you – the Giants, the Kangaroos and Essendon. Alastair Clarkson has the three clubs – as long as he doesn’t have a great place for North Melbourne and has a strong relationship with Soya Hood… unless they grow too close and Clarkson says ‘I can’t let you go now’… telling Alastair they want answers by Wednesday-Thursday this week.
“Because if it’s not Clarkson, they have to move on. A month into Alastair Clarkson.
“They have a plan B – the place won’t collapse because Alastair Clarkson says no.” But they want answers and I think Sonia Hood and the North Melbourne officials will get some sleep tonight as they want Alastair Clarkson.
While the great coach has been tipped to join the Kangaroos in recent weeks, Whaley said he felt it was an opportunity, not just North Melbourne and the Giants, to play for Clarkson.
“Essendon is on Alastair Clarkson. We believe that to be true…so it’s over for Ben Ruth,” he said.
“It was eight weeks ago that a red-hot Clarkson was looking for the Essendon job, but that didn’t happen when Paul Brasher was chairman because a different course was set.”
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Veteran journalist Caroline Wilson also believes Root will be removed as coach from Tuesday.
Wilson told Channel 9: “It looks like we’re only hours away from Ben Root as manager of the Essendon Football Club. Leg assigned.
“This has been building since May/June this year, we know Paul Basher was under pressure. He opposed looking elsewhere for a senior coach, favoring Ben Root, as did Xavier Campbell.
“We know David Barham wanted an external review, and the external review translated Alastair Clarkson into me.
“I believe David Barham has moved for Alastair Clarkson, which makes you wonder about the future of Xavier Campbell, who looked at Clarkson earlier this year, but he hasn’t been part of the negotiations in recent weeks.”
Asked if Clarkson was coaching Essendon next year, Wilson said: “That’s my advice. My understanding is that the decision for North Melbourne is a few days away, that has been postponed.
Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd has backed Clarkson’s move and the club’s outside assessment during this season’s struggles.
“I made that comment six or seven weeks ago, with Alastair Clarkson sitting there, he’s a coach who can’t get into the competition for him,” Lloyd said.
“They’ve had a good response in the last seven or eight weeks, which I thought would save him. But what we’ve seen in the last two weeks against the hero and Port Adelaide – yesterday (losing 84 points from the power) he thinks is the last straw – in my opinion, yes, I will continue with Ben.
“It’s been a long time – 2004 since the last winning final. I am pleased with David Baram and his leadership. They changed the odd board member, head of football and assistant coach, but not too much, just for the sake of change.
“Now this is big, because it can change the president, it will put pressure on whether Xavier Campbell is the right person, the head of football, the head of recruitment, the coach – everyone is watching.
“I think we’re finally going to get an external evaluation, not an internal evaluation. How can you evaluate yourself?”