External Review Outcomes and Recommendations - what I want

Okay, so I was a bit bored this afternoon and thought through what I would do if I was a partner at (insert consulting firm X here) and was engaged to run an external review of the Football Club.

Outlined is how I would run the review and what I would look at. For fun I’ve also added in what my recommendations/outcomes would be post review.

Bit of a blueprint but please poke away at my thoughts…!!

Any organizational change needs to lean in on fundamentals and should look to build the right framework to put a program over the top. For example, an organisation would find it hard to drive people change if there wasn’t a base foundation of psychological safety in it ‘s culture as a basis to build a program on. Now comes the complex – whilst organisations are build on people, product and process, sporting teams are built something similar, but slightly different. Yes, the sporting club/body need to have sound financials/commercials to build around but then the sports/team element of the organisation start to have different fundamentals.

In any organisation staff selection and development is crucial – HR frameworks focus on three elements;

  1. Attraction/Selection
  2. People development
  3. People retention (goes hand in hand with 2)

Managers/leaders are involved in the process above, generally overseen by HR.
The organisation goal, mission, strategy and framework is set by the board and delivered by the CEO and the leadership team. The leadership team is also made up of core leaders with key areas of domain expertise (i.e., Finance, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Customer etc.).

This is where the similarities start to become clearer.

In my humble view, the club external review should focus on a two core elements and then be broken into sub elements:

  1. Commercial/Financial
    a. P&L position including future funds projection
    b. Use of funds;
    i. club operation/admin and growth
    ii. Football program (is the use of funds balanced with operations/commercial vs footy within the soft cap and AFL guidelines)
  2. Football
    a. Attraction/selection (Recruiting department and process)
    b. People development (Player development, program/framework/structure and staff)
    c. People capability and retention (Player welfare, personal development and playing list)

Then the fun part; once you have all of the staff (players):
• Coaching:
o The right coach (core fundamentals/experience/vision)
 Communication style (man management)
 Leadership style – I would prefer pacesetting and commanding style (we have lacked this in both Rutten and Worsfold). We need more “mongrel” and standard setting leaders.
o Game plan
 deliver a game plan that SUITS OUR PLAYERS strengths
 one that can be understood and implemented without too much complexity
 build and adapt overtime
 DEMAND adherence – if you’re not on the bus, get the f off it
o Coaching panel
 Coaches that can actually WORK TOGETHER
• Even though there are line coaches, they need to have a cohesive view of ball movement and team structures
 Complimentary coaching skills
 Aligned to the vision, values and approach of the head/senior coach
 Needs crucially be aligned, clear, concise and simple. This is where “psychology safe culture “comes in – create an environment where all voices can be heard but in the end the coach/es have the final say

Assuming I was (insert consulting firm x name here), here’s where I would start in terms of recommendations:
1. Commercial/Financial
Recommendation 1 – Xavier Campbell’s over-arching remit to be focused purely on the commercials/financials of the club. Football operations and decision to be separates.
Outcome 1 – X to assume role of Chief Commercial Officer reporting to the Board
Recommendation 2 – A more bias approach to football matters (like winning premierships) should be prioritized over being “good corporate citizens”
Outcome 2 – divide operating costs more bias to football

2. Football
Recommendation 1 - A focus on football matters and operation should be delineated between the previous CEO role and the new structure. This role should oversee all things football – including high performance, coaching, recruiting, player welfare, player development etc.
Outcome 1 – A new role should be created – Chief Football Officer, responsible for all areas above and reporting directly to the board. (Potentially a role for James Hird)
Recommendation 2 – A total revamp of team management needs to be applied.
Outcome 2;
a) The current head of recruitment has not built a competitive list over his tenure – a new head of recruitment needs to be sourced (see Kinnear Beatson as a reference)
b) The player development program (including the VFL) is not at an acceptable level – a new development leader and program needs to be sourced (see Brendan McCartney as a reference)
c) Player welfare and culture needs to be addressed and a program expanded. More Indigenous engagement should be a priority – (recommend Michael Hurley for this role)

**3. Coaching **
Recommendation 1 – Given a) the political and cultural nature of the EFC, an ESTABLISHED coach should be sought. One with current game knowledge and one with a personality style that can hold their own.
Outcome 1 – Coaching search ideal criteria:
• Established coaching credentials – must be a current or ex senior coach or senior assistant
• Leadership style - pacesetting and commanding. Must drive high performance and have an unwavering level of player expectations.
• Personality type – touch but fair. We cant have anymore introvert types. Know what you want, demand it, drive it, coach it and talk it
• Communication style – open , concise, honest. Must also understand how to communicate with different player personality types
• Game style – MUST be created with current team strengths in mind
Recommendation 1 – Shortlist:
• Don Pyke
• Damian Hardwick
• Ross Lyon
• Gia
• James Hird
• Mark Mc Veigh
• Adam Kingsley
• Leon Cameron
• Jaymie Graham

Assistant Coaching panel – recommendation (shortlist):
• Dale Tapping
• Justin Leppitsch
• Brent Stanton
• Robbie Gray

4. Playing personnel/ team make up – the playing list needs to be adjusted/overhauled. Cultural it lacks leadership and adherence to team rules/game plan. There is a bias to individuals performance not role player types and there is a lack of;
a. Balanced midfield – some current mid/s need to be traded for
i. Bigger bodies mids
ii. Two way runners
b. KPP – accelerated development program for KPP’s and recruitment of one or two older, more established KPP’s in the interim to help with younger KPP development
c. Small forward/s – trade or recruit pure small forwards with an offense mindset to balance defensive small forwards (currently Guelfi and Snelling). Bias towards indigenous talent (refer to @Benfti on BomberBlitz). Also suggest Walla becomes Indigenous ambassador
d. Overall leadership – look to recruit a small group of senior players from other teams over next 1-2 drafts. Luke Hodge style recruits with a bias to high performance, team first, play your role types.


  1. The board should;
    a. create the strategy and blueprint informed by the Chief Operating Officer (X) and Chief Football Officer (new role – could be Mahoney)
    b. let those leaders lead and execute the strategy
  2. The current CEO role and function should be delineated creating two new roles:
    a. COO and CFO
  3. A new coach should be recruited following the guidelines and process outlaid
  4. The new coach should select his coaching panel (aligned to the process and people guidelines)
  5. A new Head of recruitment should be sought and the playing group structure modified including a focus on culture and role players
  6. An accelerated review of the development program and leader should be done

after asking for a thread to be gurged you decide to make a new one?

mods move this to the somethings wrong thread.

Thanks @barnz - this was meant to look more at the overall challenges we face at the moment not just the head coach role.

The premise is that just replacing Rutten is not going to address some of the other key challenges we have….

I started a thread yesterday on the search for a new coach yes, and suggested it was merged when another thread started today.

Thanks for pointing it out though…



Mate, you really were bored this afternoon! Good, thoughtful post.

I’m not sure an external review will name specific people.

It’ll identify current strengths and weaknesses in certain areas. I’d think it’ll be recruitment, coaching, fitness, game plan, development, etc. It’ll do the same with the board, governance and finances.
Then it’ll provide recommendations.

I really don’t think an external review will state to sack X, Dodoro, Mahoney, Murphy, etc.
Whatever recommendations are stated, it would be up to the board to decide how they deliver the recommendations.


Not bad, but you left out any reference to us Members and Supporters.


I want it all
I want it all
I want it all
And I want it now!


i want to ride my bicycle




I want you
Thats all I want


It will typical management report, it won’t say sack X but it will say that the football department has been a disfunctional, poor run, poor staff selection and interfered with by senior executives on key decision making, pointing to Senior executive failures. Then the recommendations will say something like.

  • the CEO needs to be experienced and competent in the ongoing development of a football department. This will lead to not only on field success but also large revenue growth as a direct result of success. Selection of a CEO to achieve the best football outcome must include a successful track record in the development and management of a football department.

Which basically says sack X without saying it.


Good point @Bacchusfox - someone posted recently the concept of supported representation in the board or in some structure.

Bottom line is I am concerned (particular after yesterdays press conference) that we will stop short of just moving on the coach. Nathan said that he didn’t expect more changes (or something if that ilk) post the external review. I cringed when I heard that as I’m of the opinion (as I’m sure many are), that there’s more to be addressed outside the head coach role.

Clearly that’s the 3 headed beast of X, Mahoney and Dodoro.

The list needs to be re hashed clearly and some further turnover made.

The list and the 3 headed beast is the challenge for me.

I would be keeping X but with no football oversight and probably retaining Mahoney and moving on Dodoro…


Probably agree with that. I dont know if Dodoro or Campbell are crap or not, but @JBOMBER says Dodoro is and that is good enough for me, and I hate Campbells haircut, far too Etonian or Melbourne Grammar. I have actually liked the Mahoney words after each game, seems a bit more honest than most, and he never said “learnings” once !!

I want a hamburger, no a cheeseburger.
I want a hot dog, I want a milk shake, I want potato chips…

1 Like

What about a dedicated coterie liaison (or a better version of an existing one) to act as more of a buffer than a “yes” person. I’m sure these groups of, let’s be honest well off nuffs, will still be able to influence in disproportionate amounts to the average nuff simply because they are organised. However ignoring that and still complaining about the politics and influence of people outside the club should not be tolerated, if the problem can be seen the problem should be fixed.

Another good point @Strewth. I spent nearly 10 years in The Diamond Dons coterie.

I was asked by the club twice for my input - one was Peter Jackson wanting to get an idea of the “corporate support” experience with the club (I told him at the time that he and the club had their heads up their a$&.

The next was the club asking if I could help Rachel Mitrione with member strategies.

You’re right, the club could have/should have a more formal conduit to the supporters. And that should include the coteries right the way through to
non corporate members (which make up the majority of the base).

My experience with the club is that they listen more to the coteries just because that’s where the more consistent and structured conduit is.

Opportunity for that to be more formally extended….



Cheers @BakerWasAStar - I know you agree with me that we need to do more than replacing the Head Coach. Only really Mahoney survives for mine and X only in an adjusted role…

1 Like