Twice-removed Rocket wary of Egan’s Bombers

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16: Rodney Eade, coach of the Suns walks from the field after the three quarter time break during the round seven AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Gold Coast Suns at Domain Stadium on May 16, 2015 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Gold Coast Suns coach Rodney Eade Paul Kane

RODNEY Eade knows all too well the immediate effect a mid-season change in coach can have on a playing group.

'Rocket' saw the previous two teams he had coached come out the week after he had departed and register big wins.

Despite being the longest-serving coach in the history of South Melbourne-Sydney - 152 games, which included a grand final appearance in 1996 - Eade's time with the Swans ended abruptly after round 12 of the 2002 season.

He resigned on the Monday after Sydney had lost to Geelong to leave it third-last on the ladder, the decision coming just hours after the great Tony Lockett had aborted his comeback attempt.

With Paul Roos taking the reins, the Swans came out the following round and thrashed Fremantle at the SCG. Roos, of course, would go on and lead the Swans to their first premiership in Sydney in 2005.

Fast forward to 2011 and Eade felt the axe at Whitten Oval after coaching the Western Bulldogs for 162 games.

It came after a round-21 loss to Essendon which left the side that had reached the preliminary finals the previous three seasons out of the running to make finals.

Paul Williams took charge for the last three rounds of the season and started with a 10-goal win against Port Adelaide.

A change at the top doesn't always generate a positive response. In fact, only three of the last nine teams to have played on with a caretaker coach, after the senior coach resigned or was sacked, have been successful first-up.

But Eade will still be incredibly wary of Essendon at Metricon Stadium today. The Bombers will be coached by former Geelong defender Matthew Egan after the emotion-charged departure of James Hird on Tuesday.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Matthew Egan of the Bombers looks on during the round one AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Essendon Bombers at AAMI Stadium on March 22, 2013 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)
Essendon caretaker coach Matthew Egan. Morne de Klerk

"Generally history shows teams have a spike with a change of coach," Eade told reporters yesterday. "More than anything, they'll probably get freed up and let the players play with their natural instincts. So that's always a difficult one to prepare for us.

"They've still got a lot of talent in their side so you actually prepare for their best ... individually and collectively."

While Essendon (5-14) is coming off a 112-point loss to Adelaide, Gold Coast (3-1-15) is hardly travelling well itself, having suffered an 83-point loss to Richmond.

"I think there's been a lot of improvement as a team and individually, but it dropped away a bit at the weekend," Eade said.

"There was a few blokes running on empty ... players that have carried the load the whole year."

Both sides have made a raft of changes. Rory Thompson, Henry Schade, Zac Smith, Danny Stanley and Sean Lemmens come into the Suns' line-up for Tom Nicholls (knee), Charlie Dixon (ankle), Jarrod Harbrow (knee) and omitted pair Andrew Boston and Clay Cameron.

For the Bombers, Michael Hurley, Shaun McKernan, Patrick Ambrose, Nick O'Brien and Orazio Fantasia replace David Myers (back), Jonathan Giles (knee) and axed trio Tayte Pears, Kyle Langford and Ariel Steinberg.


Coaches moved on mid-season & how the teams fared next game


Replaced by John Barker R9 2015 Loss to Sydney (122-62)  

 MICHAEL VOSS (Brisbane)

Replaced by Mark Harvey R21 2013 Beat GWS (107-61)  

 MARK NEELD (Melbourne)

Replaced by Neil Craig R13 2012 Loss to StK (104-69)  


Replaced by Garry Hocking  R20 2012 Loss to Haw (159-87)  

 RODNEY EADE (Bulldogs)

Replaced by Paul Williams R22 2011 Beat Port (157-97)  

 DEAN BAILEY (Melbourne)

Replaced by Tony Viney R20 2011 Loss to Carlton (134-58)  

 NEIL CRAIG (Adelaide)

Replaced by Mark Bickley R19 2011 Beat Port (111-79)  


Replaced by Matthew Primus R16 2010 Loss to WB (47-83)  


Replaced by Darren Crocker R14 2009 Loss to WB (86-108)  

 TERRY WALLACE (Richmond)

Replaced by Jade Rawlings  R12 2009 Beat WC (92-77)  

 DENIS PAGAN (Carlton)

Replaced by Brett Ratten R17 2007 Loss to StK (111-101)  

 CHRIS CONNOLLY (Fremantle)

Replaced by Mark Harvey  R16 2007 Beat Adelaide (126-101)  

 NEALE DANIHER (Melbourne)

Replaced by Mark Riley  R14 2007 Beat Carlton (124-101)  

 PETER SCHWAB (Hawthorn)

Replaced by Donald McDonald  R18 2004 Loss to Melb (63-107)  

 GARY AYRES (Adelaide)

Replaced by Neil Craig  R14 2004 Beat Melb (145-73)  

 TERRY WALLACE (Bulldogs)

Replaced by Peter Rohde  R22 2002 Beat Coll (114-73)  

 RODNEY EADE (Sydney)

Replaced by Paul Roos  R13 2002 Beat Frem (139-62)