Lions on the level with coach?
ALASTAIR Clarkson rightly pointed out in 2013 that coaches need proper qualifications to lead junior football teams, but not AFL ones.
If you've been following the Brisbane coaching drama, you've probably heard the words 'level four accreditation' crop up when talk has centred on Justin Leppitsch's successor.
Introduced early last year, the Level 4 AFL Senior Coach program is aimed to groom assistants for top jobs.
But, not just any assistants - the best of the best, hand-picked by a panel that initially included premiership coach John Worsfold and Socceroos manager Ange Postecoglou, among others.
During the course, coaches from other sports, including cricket's John Buchanan and hockey's Ric Charlesworth share their experiences, while there is 'lecturing' done by University of Queensland professor Cliff Mallett.
Mallett, a former Olympic swimming coach who enjoyed success at the 2004 Athens Games when the Australian men's 4x400m relay team won silver, warns against the perils of "bullying” and "coercion”, explaining that if players "understand why they're doing it, it's not controlling”.
Now considered the benchmark qualification for the industry, the course was the brainchild of Hawthorn master coach Clarkson who had addressed the AFL Commission in February 2013.
Clarkson, who spends a lot of his summers overseas visiting various sporting organisations, highlighted the need for reform while comparing the AFL to elite competitions abroad which demand head coaches be adequately qualified.
Of course, not sure if dealing with in-your-face opposition supporters or how to prevent punching walls is all part of the program, but, a pioneer in many respects, 'Clarko' certainly had the game at heart.
The four-time premiership coach had believed the Essendon supplements scandal may not have occurred if then senior coach James Hird been correctly trained. Hird had come straight from the media before being hired in 2010.
Clarkson had told Fairfax Media: "We need to ensure (the Bombers scandal) never happens in our game again ... Hirdy needs accreditation to coach under-9s but not an AFL footy team ... The game doesn't protect itself from over-zealous board members who become fixated on the idea of a club legend or a star player becoming their coach with no experience.”
Soon afterwards Michael Voss admitted he would have benefited from better training before taking charge at Brisbane in 2009.
AFL football boss Mark Evans later got the ball rolling and the level-four accreditation was born.
The course can take up to 24 months to complete. One of Clarkson's many former right-hand men, Brendon Bolton, apparently breezed through it in six before taking the reins at Carlton.
Simon Goodwin, who has taken over from Paul Roos at Melbourne, was another to graduate, along with Robert Harvey (Collingwood), John Barker (Carlton), Stuart Dew (Sydney), Matthew Nicks (Port Adelaide), Blake Caracella (Geelong), Simon Lloyd (Geelong) and Adam Kingsley (St Kilda).
Not surprisingly, many of this group are now leading contenders for the Lions job.
While the AFL said it wouldn't influence the Lions' decision on a new coach, it may just gently try to persuade them to make the right decision ... you know "understand why they're doing it”, so it's not controlling.