Essendon chiefs to sit down with coach John Worsfold to thrash out new contract extension
JON RALPH, Herald Sun
19 minutes ago
JOHN Worsfold is closing in on a contract extension by Round 1 after impressing Essendon powerbrokers in his first real season of coaching last year.
Worsfold will sit down with club boss Xavier Campbell after the chief executive returns from an American fact-finding trip next week.
The 49-year-old is entering his final season of a three-year deal and said if he did not receive an extension it would not be a distraction to his club’s chances.
But after Collingwood had to endure a media circus around Nathan Buckley’s future the Bombers would seem unlikely to reprise that tactic for the 2006 Eagles premiership coach.
Worsfold is unashamedly targeting a premiership in coming years, having recruited a trio of exciting rivals in Jake Stringer, Devon Smith and Adam Saad.
After signing on to coach Essendon, Worsfold was then the steady hand at the tiller as the Bombers lost a dozen stars over a drug ban in 2016.
Last year, with his side playing an attractive, up-tempo style, the Bombers won 12 games before being well beaten by Sydney in an elimination final with Worsfold missing key players through injury and some playing in pain.
He is seen to have instilled a sustainable game plan, put in place a strong cultural framework and led the entire club as well as the playing group.
A one or two-year extension would add real stability to the senior coaching position after five changes of coach since Kevin Sheedy left in 2007.
Worsfold told the Herald Sun he was comfortable with progress on his future at the club.
“That’s coming up. Xavier is at the Super Bowl so I am on hold for a week. We have discussed it pre-Christmas and put a plan in place and that will all be pretty smooth, I would expect.”
Asked if he expected to be re-signed by Round 1, he replied: “You never know how these things unfold.
“I might be done two days after Xavier is back, it may be all sorted. But you never know, we haven’t gone into depth about the club’s aspirations in the medium-term.”
Worsfold said speculation about the future of senior coaches was unavoidable regardless of their contract position.
“That pressure is always there, it doesn’t matter if you have still got a year to go or an extra year.
“If you are clear on where you stand in terms of you and your club communicating strongly all the way through, you can deal with the external pressure.
“Sometimes it annoys fans because they feed off the questions the media are asking but if you are really strong with your communication and everyone knows where it sits the fans can make their (judgments) from that.”
New head of football Dan Richardson, only at the club for three weeks after crossing from Richmond, will also play a key role in the talks as Worsfold reports directly to him.
Campbell will meet with representatives of several leading sports teams in the US and Canada as well as hosting the club’s sponsors at the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.