Monday, 20 August 2007
The AFL coaching merry-go-round is officially one seat smaller after Carlton's board voted in favour of appointing Brett Ratten for the next two seasons.
The Blues board took little time in unanimously adopting the recommendation made by the club's coaching sub-committee after being impressed by Ratten's four games as interim coach following Denis Pagan's sacking after the round-16 defeat to the Brisbane Lions.
Ratten emerged a red-hot favourite for the job after Lions legend Michael Voss pulled out of the race earlier this month, and his appointment leaves Melbourne, Fremantle and Essendon as the clubs yet to settle on coaches for 2008.
Ratten's manager Ricky Nixon will meet with Carlton chief executive Greg Swann on Tuesday to discuss the coach's contract, and the Blues expect to hold a press conference on Wednesday.
"It's the worst-kept secret, but we had to be sure and we wanted to get it right," Carlton football director and vice-president Stephen Kernahan said.
"We needed a specific person to coach our young group, and to see Ratts, he's out there every day with kicking and marking and teaching and that's what we wanted, and we've got our bloke."
Ratten's appointment as coach completes a journey at the club he played 255 games with from 1990-2003, progressing from an unheralded midfielder to champion onballer, premiership player and captain, before he began as assistant coach this season.
Although Ratten remains winless from his four games in charge, with two to come, Kernahan said his former teammate had impressed working with the players and performing on match days.
"The interview kept going for four weeks with Ratts and that's helped him," he said.
"Being a Carlton person I suppose that's good for Carlton supporters.
"He's a popular person, he's a humble bloke and it's exactly what we need."
Ratten beat fellow assistant coaches Guy McKenna (Collingwood) and Chris Bond (Western Bulldogs) for the position, and those two candidates are unlikely to be successful at Melbourne either.
Melbourne have reportedly compiled a shortlist of outgoing Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy, former Fremantle coach Chris Connolly, caretaker Mark Riley and assistant coaches Dean Bailey (Port Adelaide) and Damien Hardwick (Hawthorn) as candidates to succeed Neale Daniher.
Fremantle are likely to appoint interim coach Mark Harvey as Connolly's successor.
Essendon are likely to consider Harvey, Bond, McKenna, Daniher and possibly even Geelong coach Mark Thompson, out of contract at season's end, to succeed Sheedy.
Kernahan said Ratten would choose his team of assistants at the end of the season.
Ratten must also make a decision on full-forward Brendan Fevola, who could yet be traded.
Fevola will not play again this season because of a groin injury, but Kernahan hoped he would be retained.
"I hope he is, I'd like him to be," he said.
"If (West Coast superstar) Chris Judd wanted to come home, who knows? I don't know.
"I hope Fev's here, he's a Carlton man and he really wants to be here, and I think his last month of footy has spoken volumes for what he wants to do."