Melbourne great Gary Lyons has told Essendon “the stakes are rarely high” in their bid to coach great Alastair Clarkson amid uncertainty over Ben Root’s future.
Several reports suggest Rutten’s departure from Tulmarine comes after turmoil at the club on Monday, which saw the Bombers undergo an external review with David Baram taking over as chairman from Paul Brasher.
Reached at the club on Tuesday morning, Rutton said his outlook for the future was “obviously not good” but he was determined to focus on his job.
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Essendon great Tim Watson on Monday shot down reports the club had met with Clarkson, saying on SEN it was “wrong in the capital W” but suggesting he would meet with management.
Lyon has been concerned about how much Essendon has ridden the game of late for the four-time premiership boss amid turmoil at the club.
“This great football club is down to one person, who will say yes, then the way forward is clear – he is a leader, their people are good, I think their members are over the moon, their sponsors will sign. Check again – everything is good in the world for Essendon, Lyons explained. SEN breakfast.
“If he didn’t… would the stakes have been higher? I can’t imagine higher.
“I can’t imagine they’ll go back to him (Rutten). There are two sides to it, do we even think it would matter if he asked the question ‘Are you in Clarkson’ this morning? Well, that’s a no-no for me.”
Despite reports that Clarkson is adamant about taking over the North Melbourne coaching job – having already met with the Kangaroos and Giants about their openings – veteran journalist Caroline Wilson now reveals the Arden Street-based Cub has delayed a decision.
Watson believes North may feel “less confident” about landing Clarkson than he has in recent days, but questions how quickly the Bombers will progress their talks with him.
“We’ll assume if he hasn’t made an offer yet, and then Essendon is coming to him with a late offer… I don’t know how quickly they’re having these discussions,” he said.
Because these other discussions with GWS and North Melbourne have been going on for at least a month. Essendon are trying to fast track this to get his signature.
“It can be very difficult. And he passed all the names of the people he wanted to bring and discussed the positions they might take.
“With Essendon, there could be people in these positions that would then ask them to sack other people to allow Clarkson to come in… Maybe they would, but the disruption would be more and more intense.”
Adding further focus to the two clubs’ competition for Clarkson, Lyon highlights past tensions between Rows chief executive Ben Amafio and Barham, a highly successful TV executive.
“Let me throw another one into the mix here, this is a little side story. I’m told that when Ben Amarfio managed the broadcast rights for North Melbourne, he and Barham clashed and had some issues along the way. And now they are both in charge of clubs that need the same coach,” Lyon said.
“That adds another little bit of spice to it, and the rivalry between Essendon and North Melbourne is so fierce and bitter that if you talk to North Melbourne they’ll say they hate each other.”
Watson also explained how the Bombers’ outside evaluation will complicate their pursuit of Clarkson.
“Yesterday’s argument (the board said) was, ‘We need to do an external review.’ And someone says, ‘That’s probably going to take five or six weeks. So if there’s any chance of getting Alastair Clarkson now, that’s going to rule us out. Should we think about this again?’
“He doesn’t expect… If Plank, who comes to power, wants something external, but you’re going to agree on that because you’re going to try to attract Clarkson to the club.
“If you continue with your external evaluation, maybe there are all these changes that have or haven’t been made, but you’ve decided to get rid of your coach.”