The AFL’s worst kept secret is set to be announced on Tuesday, with Mick Malthouse to sign on as the head coach of the Carlton Football Club.
It comes after weeks of speculation and after the three-time premiership coach, twice with West Coast and once Collingwood, was strongly linked to the position.
The rumours came after Carlton’s Round 22 loss to Gold Coast subsequently resulted in the controversial termination of former coach Brett Ratten’s contract, not allowing him to fulfil the second year of his two-year contract, and leaving the position vacant.
Malthouse has so far denied rumours and talks about the opening of the role, stating that he wished to complete his media time with Channel 7 and 3AW before considering applying for the job, but it now looks set it stone.
Carlton, in fact, have announced a press conference, and with delistments and departures of both players and staff commencing, it seems as if the announcement is the one which we’ve come to expect, with no other coach seemingly linked to the position.
However, with his arrival, it seems like there will still be coaching positions yet to be filled for the upcoming season.
Three, in fact; Alan Richardson, Mark Riley and Paul Williams are set to follow Ratten out the door as Malthouse prepares the assistant coaches he desires alongside him.
Richardson was the senior assistant coach at Carlton, but also spent time under Malthouse as the player development coach for two years, which may very well suggest that the well-regarded assistant and the premiership coach didn’t exactly see eye to eye during their time.
Riley was an assistant coach under Ratten for five years, after coaching with Fremantle and Melbourne, including as a caretaker in the latter rounds of 2007 for the latter team.
Williams was the midfield stoppage coach, and had only served one year at the club after spending time with Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs, and like Riley, filled in as an interim coach for the Bulldogs in 2011.
With the exodus of Ratten and the three assistants, all set to have their contracts paid out, plus the hefty checks sent Malthouse’s way – reportedly $3 million, lasting him until the end of the 2015 season – it’s worth pondering where Carlton can find the money, given its current debt.
Also consider that it seems like the Blues will make a play for the out of contract forward Travis Cloke, currently playing at Collingwood and formerly under Malthouse, and it seems like they’ll need to be planting money trees around Princes Park to afford it all.
Regardless, Malthouse is proven, as a three-time premiership coach, including taking Collingwood to five Grand Finals from dire straits in 2000.
He can deliver, with the right staff and players in front of him. That is well and truly known.
It appears, though, as if the Blues will do anything to ensure that the playing group can take them to that elusive seventeenth premiership.