Stephen Silvagni lashes out at Carlton over ‘disrespectful’ and ‘amateur’ handling of exit as Blues list manager


“What hurt me the most … probably when your president has a chat to you and he says I’ve fought for you, that the CEO felt as though I would sabotage the trade and draft period,” Silvagni said.

“I hate talking about myself, but when you’ve played for a club for 17 years and you put your body on the line and supported the club all your life, for a person to say you’ll sabotage the trade and draft period, and for me, an outsider that’s come into the club and doesn’t know a lot about the club or me, that was probably the most disappointing out of everything that happened.”

At the time of his departure, the club released a media statement claiming there was a conflict with Silvagni managing the list given two of his sons – Jack and Ben – were at the club.

“The difficult decision to not enter into a new contract with Silvagni as GM list management and strategy centred around the increasing complexity of having two sons on the playing list,” the club a statement said at the time.

“The situation is not only a conflict for the club’s GM list management and strategy, but equally for those who work in and around him in the football department.”

Speaking in a paid interview on SEN on Wednesday morning, Silvagni said: “Looking back at the press release, it put the boys under the bus and it was amateur, to be honest. It lacked any respect about how you handle people on the way out. It was probably the most hurtful thing.

“That was probably the most hurtful thing. I think your two biggest assets at a football club are your supporters and your players.

“It got messy in the end and throughout the year I was talking to the president about moving on. That decision was made for me and that happens in footy clubs.”

The younger of the two Silvagnis on Carlton’s list – Ben – has been delisted after two years without playing a game, and while Jack is contracted for next season it remains unclear if he is in the long-term plans of coach David Teague.

Silvagni said the immediate future of son Jack remained uncertain.

“I really haven’t spoken to him about it, he’s his own person. My view is … when a club actually puts more pressure on that player than they should through a season, I find that frustrating.”

Silvagni also criticised the club over its approach to recruiting fan favourite Eddie Betts.

“Ultimately I look back and we all agreed that Eddie Betts should come to Carlton, but it was at a price. We all agreed on that but when someone from above decides to change those rules … our list wasn’t in a good state and neither was our salary cap,” he said.

Liddle has been contacted, but the club has declined to comment, privately stating it is not in anyone’s interests to be dragged into a war of words.

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Richmond Tigers have embarrassed Essendon Bombers, Collingwood Magpies and Carlton Blues


That investigation is being conducted by noted Indigenous academic Larissa Behrendt. It is unclear what impact, if any, Lumumba’s lawsuit will have on Collingwood’s internal probe, the Magpies having foreshadowed that a mea culpa was on the cards.

Lumumba had said he would not participate in the club’s investigation.

Carlton, meanwhile, have completed yet another season without finals, while watching the coach the Blues brutally jettisoned in 2012, Brett Ratten, coax St Kilda into finals and to a spirited effort in the semi-final against Richmond, who themselves enter this grand final week as the competition’s nonpareil club. Only Geelong have claims to rivalling the Tigers for consistent performance.

Richmond’s performances, on and off-field, over the past four seasons – despite a 2020 marred by scandals – have embarrassed Essendon, Carlton and even Collingwood.

Or they should have embarrassed those clubs, who have not kept pace with Richmond where it counts most: winning games, finals and premierships.

Essendon’s failing is the most egregious compared with their yellow-sash rivals, who have donated not only incoming coach Ben Rutten, his assistant Blake Caracella and football boss Daniel Richardson, but four decades ago, handed the then-mediocre Bombers the figure who would become the club’s most towering figure since the second world war, Kevin Sheedy.

Essendon coach Ben Rutten joined the club from Richmond.Credit:Getty Images

That Sheedy was enlisted on to the club board – having served as a paid ambassador over the past few years – was a measure of Essendon’s need to pacify increasingly angry and despondent fans.

It was a political appointment at a highly political club, which has been lumbered with the legacy of the drug saga, just as the Blues spent a long time under the weight of the 2002 draft penalties for salary cap cheating.

Richmond, for so long a laughing stock among the “big four” – or what Brian Cook, Geelong’s sage chief executive once called “The Beatles” – have out-performed Essendon, Carlton and, to a lesser extent, the Magpies on every football front: list management, coaching and conditioning.

The failings of the Dons, Blues and Pies compared with Richmond are not uniform, but a few are shared. One is that Richmond’s coaching is well ahead.

Richmond have a complex defensive system.

Richmond have a complex defensive system.Credit:Getty Images

The Tigers, third again this home and away season, do not have an overpowering level of talent in the manner of Geelong of 2007-2011 or Hawthorn of 2012-2015, though their list has depth.

Their finals-built game plan involves taking territory, pressure and embracing chaos, yet is complex defensively. A third flag with this list – in which role players such as Kane Lambert are meshed with superstars – would arguably be the greatest achievement by an AFL senior coach and his panel yet.

Significantly, the Tigers have all bar one of their nine coaches in their Gold Coast hub in a year of slashed budgets.

The Bombers, most obviously, have sought to fuse Richmond elements into their game style, without Richmond’s personnel, on-field leadership or hard-edged resilience.

Collingwood emulated aspects of Richmond’s “connection” between players and sped up their ball movement in 2018, only to fall back to a more indirect, possession-heavy style compared with the Tigers’ leaner method.

Collingwood’s main failing, relative to the Tigers, has been in list management planning, notably (not) for a key forward, as symbolised by Tom Lynch, and in some long-term legacy contracts that have seen the Pies become a bystander in free agency and with limited scope for trades.

The Lumumba situation can be contrasted with Richmond’s success in the multicultural arena. Tellingly, the Tigers have had enormous success with Indigenous talent, while Collingwood, unless they find a player this post-season, will not have one Indigenous player on the list next year after Travis Varcoe’s retirement – a reflection of each club’s support network as much as recruiting calls.

To be measured against Richmond is galling for the Magpies, given they’ve been tantalisingly close to the grail and are the only club to upend the Tigers in a cut-throat final since 2017; the inches that separate those clubs have turned into premiership miles.

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The Blues haven’t gone down a Richmond-esque path in coaching, but have imported two key figures with Richmond passports.

First was chief executive Cain Liddle, who presided over the Tigers’ membership growth in 2017 and was hired, in part, to propel that kind of groundswell within a long-dormant and disillusioned Carlton fan base.

The second executive with a tinge of Tigerland was list manager Nick Austin, who had worked in recruiting at Richmond and then the Bulldogs. Austin had replaced Stephen Silvagni, the favourite son whom Liddle had forced out.

Carlton’s aggression in acquiring Zac Williams and then seeking to trade in Saad confirmed that the club had moved past that ground-zero rebuild of 2015. The Blues, if some distance away, at least have a direction.

Essendon’s issues have been largely football-based, since the club has brilliantly recovered financially, in no small measure due to the hard toil of Brasher and chief executive Xavier Campbell.

But, as that pair have discovered, fans give administrations little credit for fiscal recitude or recovery; they care only for the win-loss ledger.

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Grand final vindicates move from Carlton Blues to Geelong Cats, says Irishman Zach Tuohy


“And if that’s your criteria, then, to be honest, Geelong is the place to be. I’m very grateful.”

Tuohy’s comments came on the same day Geelong emerged as the frontrunner to snare Giants forward and free agent Jeremy Cameron in another coup for the provincial powerhouse.

In another insight into Geelong’s destination club stature, and how players make such calls, Tuohy said while other clubs had been options for him, once Geelong became a potential destination, his choice was easy.

Tuohy said leaving Carlton, where he spent seven seasons as a defender and established himself, had not been a money issue. The Blues used the Tuohy deal to pick up Caleb Marchbank from Greater Western Sydney following a pick swap.

“There was another structure in the contract that, you know, I wasn’t confident in. I don’t want to talk about that now,” he said.

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Tuohy said when he left Carlton he had been at a stage where the next stage of his career “was going to be the peak”, adding, “I just wanted to spend as much of that time giving myself a shot at a grand final and I said, if that’s your motive, I don’t think you would begrudge a player for getting to Geelong, because it’s just what they do.”

Tuohy, who is out of contract but expects to be playing on next season with the Cats, said while the finals defeats of his time at Geelong – he played in losing preliminary finals in 2017 and 2019 – were difficult to take, he had never felt he had missed out due to Geelong’s consistency of high finishes.

He said “the older you get, the more desperate” to get into a grand final.

“To finally have, it’s bloody good,” said Tuohy. “Clearly the losses are harder to take the later in the season they are.”

Tuohy, who has thrived in his role as a high half-forward this season and in the finals, said he had “never” felt he “wasn’t going to get another shot at it”.

“Geelong’s proven time and time again that they just kind of put themselves in these positions,” he said.

Tuohy pointed out that skipper Joel Selwood had played in 10 preliminary finals, while teammate Harry Taylor had played in nine.

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AFL 2020: Eddie Betts contract, future, Carlton Blues, latest news, trades, retirement, playing in 2021, new deal


Carlton veteran Eddie Betts says he wants to play on until his body gives up, with his management and the Blues still finalising a deal for 2021.

While it has been reported for several weeks Betts will play a 17th AFL season, the multiple-time goal of the year winner wouldn’t officially confirm anything on AFL 360.

However he did outline what his role will look like at Ikon Park in 2021 – which suggests he’ll be there – including development work with the Blues’ small forwards.

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Betts keen to play on

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AFL trade news, rumours, whispers: Carlton, trade targets, Jeremy Cameron, GWS Giants, Geelong, free agents, Jordan Clark


The Blues have already been busy since their season ended, but they’re about to get busier.

Plus the deadline that will have the Giants worried about their gun forward.

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Pie on the trade table

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Why Carlton should have to give up pick seven for Adam Saad


The deal for Carlton to secure Essendon running defender Adam Saad continues to be the subject of much fascination.

After The Age reported that Essendon’s first offer included asking for one of Charlie Curnow, Harry McKay or Sam Walsh for Saad, what the Blues will be forced to give up was debated on SEN Breakfast on Wednesday morning.

Asked by Garry Lyon what it will take for Carlton to get the Adam Saad deal done, Watson said it was obvious that as it stands, the Blues should give up their pick seven.

“Carlton just give up their pick seven and it’s done,” Watson said on SEN Breakfast.

“That’s as easy as it can possibly be. (He’s worth) a first-round pick and it doesn’t really matter whether he’s worth pick seven or not, he’s a first-round pick and at the moment Carlton only have that pick seven.

“If they split it and go to Geelong and they offer two later first round picks, then it becomes a different conversation but right now Carlton have that pick seven.

“If Carlton offered Essendon that pick seven today, I’m pretty sure they would take that.

“Everyone starts out (requesting specific trades) and then you’ve actually got to sit down and do the deal. Carlton will be trying to do the best possible deal which they’re entitled to do and so will Essendon.

“Carlton rate this player so highly that they’re prepared to give him a five-year massive contract so you can’t then turn around and say, ‘No but here’s a second round pick for a bloke that we rate so highly’.

“You have to come to some sort of compromise if you want to get these deals done early and quickly.”

The 26-year-old knocked back Essendon’s contract extension last week, nominating Carlton as his club of choice.






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AFL trade whispers 2020, news, rumours, out of contract players, free agents, biggest trade names, Adrian Dodoro Essendon, Adam Saad Carlton, Brad Crouch


Essendon have set an audacious asking price for Carlton to secure Adam Saad.

Plus a star Crow’s recent run-in with police doesn’t seem to have deterred suitors.

Get all the latest player movement news in AFL Trade Whispers!

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AFL Trade Period 2020 | Carlton Blues reject Essendon Bombers’ first trade query over Adam Saad


Sources indicate that Carlton have explored options with Geelong about splitting their first-round pick – Carlton trading their early first-round pick to Geelong for two of the three later first-round picks the Cats have in this year’s draft courtesy of the future picks they received for losing Tim Kelly.

The Blues also have open to them the option of trying to push Saad through the pre-season draft if a trade cannot be achieved with Essendon.

The Blues did that last year when they could not agree a trade with Gold Coasts for the out-of-contract Jack Martin. The difference then was Carlton’s pick was much earlier in the pre-season draft than it is this year so there was less risk that another club would take him before them.

This year Saad would have to get through to pick eight in that draft and bypass Essendon at pick six. The Bombers would undoubtedly threaten to redraft him.

Any club taking a player in the national or pre-season drafts has to accept any contract terms a player could nominate as his requirement if drafted.

Saad has been offered a $3 million contract with Carlton over five years. Those terms would be very significant for a club to commit to for a player who did not wish to play for the club.

The challenge of securing a trade is going to be made more difficult by the fact the Bombers will be juggling other trade issues.

The Bombers will be fielding approaches from Port Adelaide and the Crows over Orazio Fantasia after the forward, who remains contracted at Essendon for next year, repeated his wish of last off-season to be traded back to South Australia.

The Bombers are also working through how to deal with restricted free agent Joe Daniher and his request to move to Brisbane.

If the Bombers deem the free-agency compensation pick they would receive for Daniher – expected to be a first-round pick depending on the contract terms the Lions offer – is insufficient and they match the Lions’ contract terms, then Brisbane would be forced into trading for the player.



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AFL trade news, rumours, whispers: Jordan De Goey, Collingwood, future, contract, $1 million price, Essendon, Carlton


The tide is turning in Jordan De Goey’s hunt for a new contract, with reports clubs have baulked at his asking price.

A club great has implored him to stick around at a lower salary amid claims only one team is truly interested.

Catch up on the latest AFL trade news in Trade Whispers!

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Carlton Blues not chasing Collingwood Magpie Jordan De Goey


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Carlton’s other obstacle is the ability to consummate a trade with Collingwood, which would demand significant compensation and the Blues would find it extremely difficult to complete the Saad trade – to which they are committed – and also to find the draft picks and/or players that would satisfy the Magpies, who say De Goey wants to stay.

Sources said that De Goey met with the Blues months ago, when they would not necessarily have known that Saad would be leaving Essendon. Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said on Saturday that he thought De Goey would have met with other clubs, or been courted by them, while saying that the forward/midfielder loved the Magpies and wanted to stay, but that remuneration was the sticking point in negotiations.

De Goey faces a charge of indecent assault from a situation that dates back to his first season in 2015 and was due to face court on October 30.

Williams will not cost the Blues anything in the draft due to the certainty that the Giants won’t match Carlton’s lucrative offer. Williams spurned a five-year deal at close to $700,000 from GWS to take a bigger offer from the Blues that industry sources suggest exceeds $800,000 per annum (exclusive of any across-the-board pay cuts to players).

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But Saad could cost them a first-round pick or someone of similar value, given that Essendon will drive a hard bargain. The Blues have pick number seven in the national draft, but it is unclear as yet what the Bombers will seek in return.

Carlton is mindful, not only of the prospective cost of Williams and Saad, but of the fact that their superstar skipper Patrick Cripps is coming out of contract at the end of 2021, along with key forward Harry McKay and ruckman Tom de Koning, while 2019 Rising Star winner and 2018 number one draft pick Sam Walsh comes out of contract at the end of 2022.

De Goey does not have a manager, having parted with Ben Niall, the brother of this article’s author, late last year.



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