Veteran South Australian journalist Michelangelo Rucci is worried that Matthew Nicks will simply be another young coach cast out after a few poor years at a rebuilding club.
In recent years, we have seen coaches like Brendon Bolton at Carlton and Alan Richardson at St Kilda take over struggling clubs before being sacked early in their tenure.
Rucci hopes that Nicks is able to get through this early phase with the Crows unscathed.
“It’s a long road for Matthew Nicks and I hope he doesn’t become one of these coaches, and there’s a long list of them in VFL, AFL, SANFL, WAFL where a club is on its knees and a young, first-time coach comes in and just wears himself out over the first two years and clubs become impatient and want to go with a finishing coach,” he told SEN Afternoons.
“That’s the risk Matthew Nicks faces and we’ve seen it so many times with clubs in recent times.”
The Crows have struggled to contain off-field issues, starting with their infamous pre-season camp following the 2017 Grand Final.
Players Tyson Stengle and Josh Worrell have become the most recent to be sanctioned for indiscretions following the 2020 season.
Rucci hopes new club Chairman John Olsen institutes the change the club needs.
“The real challenge to change the football club itself stands with John Olsen as their new chairman,” he said.
“Now bear in mind he’s not there for a long time, he’s not going to be a 9-10 year club chairman, he’s probably there for four years max.
“He’s spent a lot of time since October getting one on one with key people inside and outside the footy club. His due diligence could not be better in terms of understanding where the footy club was, what it has become and needs to be and I would expect by February there would be some significant changes in key roles at the Adelaide Football Club.
“He sets a new agenda and a new feel for a football club that is very different to the one we knew a decade ago and 20 years ago when Malcolm Blight was making something out of the place.”
Rucci adds that he feels club CEO Andrew Fagan’s days at the club may be numbered.
“I’ve been saying for some time I don’t think the Chief Executive Andrew Fagan can survive what has been a very, very interesting 12 months whereby leadership has been questioned at Adelaide and just what he has done to this football club,” he said.
“People will say that in his time he’s certainly made Adelaide commercially stronger, their balance sheet has never read better pre-COVID, but culturally they are weaker by this determination to be a business rather than in the business of football.
“I know that the Jason Dunstall report that was done at the end of last year brought up some issues about the way Andrew Fagan’s gone about things at Adelaide Football Club, I’m more than sure from the feedback John Olsen is getting there’s going to be more questions asked of Fagan.
“I’m not sure it probably is a moment that leads to much longer tenure for him at West Lakes.”