The 2018 AFL season is done with and from the moment we crowned West Coast with the Premiership, the gaze of the footy world turned to “what now?” One of the biggest questions every year is around which of the 18 coaches is going to be moved on.
With that in mind let’s look at the 2019 AFL Coaching Hot Butt ranking.
Firstly obviously we need to define what exactly is the “Hot Butt” ranking – stay with me here. It’s a simple enough 1 to 10 system to quantify how much heat a coach is going to feel.
1 = situation normal, comfortably seated on a nice chair with no additional heat rising.
10 = no longer able to remain seated, upholstery replaced with lava like substance, pants (outer and under) completely scorched and 3rd degree burns to the butt.
Got it? Good! Now you understand the ratings let’s look at what goes into it, there are four factors in the Hot Butt matrix.
Adelaide Crows – Don Pyke.
Hot Butt Rating = 4 (Was there someone sitting in this seat before?)
Pyke is quite OK for now but after a huge drop off in 2018 after what was a really poor performance in the 2017 GF there isn’t any room for another failure. The Crows will need to play finals next year for him to ease any talk of moving on.
Brisbane Lions – Chris Fagan.
HB Rating = 6 (OK, something is wrong with this chair, why is it steaming?)
When he took the job Fagan had a completely bare cupboard and he set the bar low for wins – 10 in two years means he was right. While the media scrutiny up in Queensland isn’t what it is elsewhere there needs to be improvement in 2019 and I’ll put a number on it, 9 to 11 wins, or Fagan is cooked.
West Fitzroy Blues – Brendan Bolton.
HB Rating = 9 (Call 000 this is an emergency, smoke detectors are beeping and sprinklers are kicking into gear.)
Anyone with 15 wins in three years (two in 2018) can’t be looking forward to sitting down anytime soon and BB should look to invest in some fire proof jocks. An outsider coming in from a traditional rival he managed to buy some time with what seemed like a clear plan to rebuild but now three years in the results have to come or the HB hits 10 by June.
Collingwood Magpies – Nathan Buckley.
HB Rating = 5 (cool this thing has inbuilt heating, it’s fairly warm, is it adjustable?)
Wait a 5? Didn’t they just play off in the GF? Isn’t this bloke a club legend? Wasn’t he the Messiah that Eddie promised? Yes to all of them – but just like he failed as a player there is a stink around Bucks that he just doesn’t have what it takes to win a flag. When he stopped playing they got better, if he stops coaching will that happen again? 2018 was the first time the team went UP the ladder during his tenure, if they drop out of the Top 4 and get rolled week 1 of finals the Mercury will be rising.
Essendon Bombers – John Worsfold.
HB Rating = 4 (see above).
The hope built in 2017 wasn’t carried over into 2018 and on the surface the Bombers stepped backwards, however a deeper look shows an overall improvement. The club matched its wins total of 12 and was playing like a Top 4 team for the best part of the last 14 weeks. Woosha joined the club at its nadir and has plenty of credits in the bank for that but 2019 needs to see at least one finals win.
Fremantle Dockers – Ross Lyon.
HB Rating = 8 (What’s that smell? Why am I sweating? What’s happening here?)
When you play the same old song for sooooo long people stop listening. Back to back 8 win seasons, boring footy and a boring human. Needs a miracle or there will be a job opening in the West.
Geelong Cats – Chris (?) Scott.
HB Rating = 3 (That’s nice fabric, must retain heat.)
Was this a blip or the start of the decline for the Cats? Winning a flag in your first year goes a long way but how far exactly? In the years since 2011 the Cats have been consistent without being great. Let’s see where they are going.
Gold Coast Suns – Stuart Dew.
HB Rating = 2 (the chair isn’t cold, it’s not hot by any means but it isn’t cold.)
First year coaches usually get a free ride and Dew is no different. Stepping into a job that no one before him has done well means that anything better than 4 wins in 2019 will keep the seat at 2.
Greater Western Sydney Giants – Leon Cameron.
HB Rating = 3 (see above)
The Giants are a perennial finalist and like Chris (?) Scott this buys time for Cameron. The flip side is losing finals won’t do much for him should the 2018 blip become a trend. I’ll back him to stay another few years.
Hawthorn Hawks – Alastair Clarkson.
HB Rating = 1 (see above)
Nothing happening down at Glenferrie, Clarko has four flags and managed to rebuild on the fly bringing the Hawks a Top 4 finish at least two years early. Seemingly has the job for as long as he wants it which leaves the only question – how long does he want it?
Melbourne Demons – Simon Goodwin.
HB Rating = 2 (see above)
The Dees are trending upwards and any disappointment from 2017 was made up for in 2018 with a Preliminary finals berth and an attractive brand of footy good enough to see the MCG carpark full of Audi’s and Land Rover’s. Goodwin had the stamp of approval from Roos the Saviour so his “Prince that was Promised” status means even a down year won’t see the heat turned up.
North Melbourne Kangaroos – Brad (?) Scott.
HB Rating =7 (Did you leave a heat pack on here? What am I sitting on? I need to stand up right now.)
When you have coasted so long based on being a media darling why would you worry now? Brad (?) Scott has always annoyed me so I won’t pretend to be un-biased here but what has he done? After 9 years in the seat there is a couple of finals seasons, some lucky September victories that saw them compete in a prelim. North needs to put up or shut up. Go away Brad (?) Scott.
Port Power – Ken Hinkley.
HB Rating = 4 (see above)
One of the best blokes in footy authored one of the best stories in footy when he took over a moribund and morbid club, together with Kochie, and took them from the outhouse to the penthouse. However a second half choke of epic proportions means he is on the radar next year.
Richmond Tigers – Damien Hardwick.
HB Rating = 2 (see above)
At any other club Dimma is a 1 but do you really think all those Tigers can change their stripes that easily? A slow start to the season, a couple of un-competitive games and are we watching the news reports of burning memberships and manure trucks at Punt Rd?
St Kilda Saints – Alan Richardson.
HB Rating = 9 (see above)
The Saints are in reverse gear and Richardson had a shocker with the club going back 6.5 wins on last year. Five years in and nothing looks good about the team, it will take a finals berth or near enough for this to work out for him.
Sydney Swans – John Longmire.
HB Rating = 4 (see above)
This was the hardest one to rank in my opinion and could have been easily a 2, 3 or 5. Horse, like Goodwin, is a Roos disciple a Chosen One anointed to take over the club. He has a flag, is always in the finals and is loved by the media but where are the Swans going? They took some pretty big swings in free agency and have seemingly gone backwards. Are they still the Bloods or have they got a touch of the old 80’s era Swans about them?
West Coast Eagles – Adam Simpson.
HB Rating = 1 (see above)
Yeah, not much to say here. Simpson is so safe I’m not going to waste words, just show you a picture of my new puppy.
Isn’t he adorable!!!!!
Western Bulldogs – Luke Beveridge.
HB Rating = 5 (see above)
Another really hard one. The Dogs broke the longest drought in the AFL only a two years ago so how is he a 5? Let’s be honest for a moment – they pinched the Cup, I don’t say that lightly and I am not saying they didn’t deserve it but they were an average team that got really hot for a month. The results since then bear that out – the 2017 Dogs played at pretty much the same level as the 2016 team but didn’t make finals. Last year they were not good. Which team shows up next year?