Bombers coach in no hurry to sign extension
Feb 14, 2018 12:37PM
Coach John Worsfold (right) is keen on seeing Dyson Heppell become a premiership captain. Picture: Getty Images
On one hand, it would be nice to go and meet with Xavier today and knock it all over and get it done, but I’ve got a few other meetings so Xavier’s on the backburner at the moment. I can’t see any sticking points in terms of going forward.
JOHN Worsfold is in no rush to sign a contract extension at Essendon, but wants to coach the club for the long-term as he eyes the Bombers’ next premiership.
The West Coast premiership captain and coach’s three-year deal with the Bombers expires at the end of this season, with talks set to ramp up in coming weeks to extend his stay beyond 2018.
Worsfold has already met with the club to outline the contract situation, with discussions to continue now that Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell has returned from a trip to America.
“It [the contract] is a priority, but it’s not the pressing priority. The priority at the moment is these next three weeks and getting ready for the season to start. It’ll take care of itself, but honestly I haven’t given it any thought at the moment other than we are going to sit down and start to talk about what it looks like,” he told AFL.com.au.
"I don’t have anything booked in with Xavier at the moment to say, ‘Let’s catch up and really get it rolling’. We met with (football manager) Dan Richardson and Xavier before Xavier went away to say, ‘Here’s the process’. We’re all pretty relaxed about it so it’s not going to become a pressing issue I don’t think.
“On one hand, it would be nice to go and meet with Xavier today and knock it all over and get it done, but I’ve got a few other meetings so Xavier’s on the backburner at the moment. I can’t see any sticking points in terms of going forward.”
Worsfold was appointed Essendon’s coach after James Hird departed the club at the end of 2015.
He steered Essendon through its disastrous 2016 when it finished on the bottom of the ladder after the season-long doping bans to 34 of its past and present players, before guiding them back into the finals last year.
The 49-year-old coached the Eagles from 2002-2013, including their 2006 premiership, and said he also sees himself in charge of the Bombers for a long period of time.
“I do, absolutely. When I took the job I was thinking I could easily live in Melbourne for the next 10 years comfortably,” he said.
"I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of the past two years, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone working together to get Essendon in a position to achieve its ultimate vision which on-field is around winning premierships.
"But the club vision is a lot bigger than that, and I think the way our membership is growing, our community programs are growing, our VFL women’s team – that’s all really exciting. But the core of my role – coaching the senior men’s team – is about winning a premiership.
“I think we’re on the pathway that most people can see is one of improvement and enough improvement within our list to say we can win a flag with this group we’ve got. There’ll be subtle changes year on year, but we’ve got a group that can become a premiership-winning group. If I can see Dyson Heppell as premiership captain of the Essendon Football Club, I’d be pretty happy with that.”
Worsfold’s family has moved back to Perth but he said that wouldn’t have any impact on the length of his stay at Essendon.
"We’ve talked about it and obviously came to a decision mid last year that for us as a family that was the best thing going forward," he said.
“We’re very clear what it looks like, how it’s going to work and so far, so good. I’m surviving. There’s a lot of travel involved in the AFL industry so we’re pretty focused on this being really good for us. I’m comfortable with that, so I don’t think it’s going to hold me back at all.”