Essendon coach Ben Rutten could be sacked as early as today after the club held a second board meeting in the space of 24 hours.
3AW’s Neil Mitchell reports there is strong belief that Rutten will not coach the final round of the season with assistant Daniel Giansiracusa to take charge of the team.
However other long-time AFL journalists have reported Rutten has not been told he has been sacked and neither players nor footy department figures were aware of a decision.
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It comes as Essendon president Paul Brasher is understood to have stood down, a decision made before their humiliating loss to Port Adelaide on Sunday.
The 84-point loss at Marvel Stadium has added to the pressure already upon Rutten, trying to hold onto his job just a season after leading them back into the finals.
A board meeting held early on Monday afternoon has concluded, with an announcement regarding Rutten’s future possibly imminent.
The Bombers board could decide whether to make a play for Alastair Clarkson.
The Hawks coaching great is the most talked about coach in the competition — and he doesn’t yet have a home, after leaving the Hawks in 2021.
On Sunday night Fox Footy analyst David King said the Bombers would “rue” the decision not to chase Clarkson if they choose not to.
The Bombers have a 7-14 win-loss record in 2022 ahead of the final match of the regular season, where they will play Richmond on Saturday night.
Brasher indicated he would step down at year’s end earlier in the season, but their sorry defeat on Sunday has seemingly sped up at that process.
“I think you’re going to see real improvement in the second half of the year,” he said at the time.“
“We don’t want honourable losses. We’re happy about effort, but that is the baseline and we’re looking to improve upon that and not going to take to light about losing to good sides by narrow margins.”
An earlier internal review is said to have fallen short of what some believe is required, with AFL Media reporting that there push for an external review wanted by some.
Rutten slammed his side’s “embarrassing effort” after fans booed players from Marvel Stadium on Sunday.
“Were bitterly disappointed,” he said.
“It was the sort of game that our members and supporters who came to the game or were watching on TV … it’s not the sort of thing they should have to watch.
“It was an embarrassing effort from our guys. It’s not something we want to stand for and not something our members and supporters should have to watch at any stage.”
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Brasher has been unwavering in his support behind Rutten, but with the president gone a push for Clarkson has been made.
Clarkson has received formal offers from Greater Western Sydney as well as North Melbourne, with the Kangaroos tabling a five-year deal for the respected coach.
The former Hawks coach was said to have wanted to make his decision early this week, but a late push from the Bombers could see Clarkson want more time to make his decision.
On Sunday, Kangaroos great David King hit out at the Bombers for failing to make a serious play at Clarkson.
“For six months, if not 12 months, Alastair Clarkson has been sitting idle ready to be grabbed by a football club,” King said on First Crack.
“Why haven’t Essendon taken that step?
“Right now they lack system, they lack motivation and they lack standards as a footy club and I reckon the Essendon faithful are sick of it.
“Why are they gambling on a coach that is still developing when the absolute finished product is there?
“OK you’ve got to jump through a lot of hoops to get over the line, but if (Clarkson) signs at North Melbourne this week and Essendon could have got him with the list they’ve got right now, I think it’s a mistake they will rue for years.”
King slammed the Bombers for failing to turn up and said some of the players were not playing to “AFL standard”.
“This is Essendon in a nutshell,” King lamented.
“How lax this is? Have a look at them just standing around, ambling around. This is the forward 50. There’s 10 players within arms reach of this stoppage. That (game style) is going nowhere.
“I can’t understand what they look at when they review games at the moment if that is the output of a weekend.
“We can only judge the actions they put in front of us – that is not AFL standard.”