AFL coaching merry-go-round in full swing

By Justin Chadwick
Former Fremantle assistant coach and three-time premiership winner David Hale has rejoined Hawthorn. (AAP)

West Coast's coaching revamp has landed two big fish, with former Essendon coach Matthew Knights and Jarrad Schofield joining the club's ranks.

Knights was a former captain of Richmond and a two-time best and fairest winner at the club during his decorated 279-game career.

He was senior coach at Essendon from 2008 to 2010 before moving to Geelong in 2012, steering the Cats to the VFL premiership in his first year.

Since 2015 he has been Geelong's midfield coach, and he will perform the same role at West Coast.

Schofield played 63 games for the Eagles, and added another 131 at Port Adelaide, which included their 2004 premiership triumph.

He finished his AFL career with 12 games at the Dockers, before guiding WAFL club Subiaco to three premierships and five grand final appearances in six seasons in charge.

Schofield has spent the past three seasons as Port Adelaide's midfield coach, and he has been appointed to the role of head of strategy and stoppage at West Coast.

The Eagles' midfield was a major problem area last year, and the club hopes the arrival of Knights and Schofield can help the on-ball group bounce back in 2021.

"We're delighted to have them on board and obviously believe they can have a strong impact as we look to rebound after missing out on finals this year," West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said.

Meanwhile, David Hale has become the latest piece of the puzzle in Hawthorn's new-look coaching team, with the three-time premiership Hawk named as one of Sam Mitchell's assistants.

Hale, who retired from playing duties after the Hawks' 2015 flag win, has spent the past six seasons as an assistant at Fremantle.

The 37-year-old worked mostly as the club's forward-line coach during his time at the Dockers, but he also spent one week as the interim senior coach following the sacking of Ross Lyon in 2019.

Hale joins three-time premiership Hawk Andrew Collins and former West Coast assistant Adrian Hickmott as new inclusions to the coaching team of rookie coach Mitchell.

Chris Newman will stay on as an assistant after signing a new deal.

Mitchell took over as senior coach following the messy departure of Alastair Clarkson, who was originally set to coach for one more year.

Collingwood have bolstered their football department with the acquisition of former Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch and ex-Carlton coach Brendon Bolton.

Carlton are still on the lookout for a new senior coach after sacking David Teague.

With Ross Lyon no longer in the running and Clarkson keen to take a year off, Geelong coach Chris Scott and former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott are rumoured to be on Carlton's radar.


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