Thursday, 12 May 2016


Three years ago, the table in this blog post was generated looking at the history of coached who have won Brownlow Medals.
In that time, there has been an exit of the two the three coaches in question, and the third, Nathan Buckley, is due to coach his 100th game this weekend. Buckley is the only medal winner coaching this year.

So, with such a milestone coming, lets review the table.
Coach Teams YrsW D L T % W D L T % GF PR W-L /D
Reynolds, DickEssendon1939-60275613441567.0%212143759.5%* 1245-139-9
Blight, MalcolmAdelaide1997-9934-326651.5%7-1887.5%229-138-14
Blight, MalcolmGeelong1989-9481-4913958.3%8-71553.3%3-11-10 /110-12
Ruthven, AlanFitzroy1952-54281285750.0%1-1250.0%--10-810-6 /2
Voss, MichaelBrisbane Lions2009-134316510939.9%1-1250.0%--9-11 /210-12
Buckley, NathanCollingwood2012-1654-459954.5%1-3425.0%--17-4 /1 p20-22 f
Warne-Smith, IvorMelbourne1928-32482429253.3%-11225.0%--14-4 f12-6
Ware, NormFootscray1941-4220-133360.6%--110.0%--4-149-9
Watson, ColinSt Kilda19349-91850.0%----0.0%--3-156-12
Hird, JamesEssendon2011-15411438548.8%--110.0%--10-11 /1 f7-15
Skilton, BobSouth Melbourne1965-6616-193545.7%----0.0%--4-142-16
Stewart, IanSouth Melbourne1976-77 / 79-814916011044.5%--110.0%--9-12 /12-20 ^
Clegg, RonSouth Melbourne1951-5917-234042.5%----0.0%--6-135-13
Blight, MalcolmNorth Melbourne19816-101637.5%----0.0%--17-5 f14-7 /1 f
Stewart, IanCarlton19781-2333.3%----0.0%--16-5 /1 f13-9
Skilton, BobMelbourne1974-7728-608831.8%----0.0%--10/127-15
Matthews, HerbieSouth Melbourne1939-57271629030.6%----0.0%--6-11 /12-16 ^
Coventry, SydFootscray1935-3782263625.0%----0.0%--11-76-12
Hopkins, AllanFootscray19304-141822.2%----0.0%--9-96/11 -1
Blight, MalcolmSt Kilda20013-121520.0%----0.0%--10-122-19 /1 ^
Smith, RossSt Kilda197732172218.2%----0.0%--11-119-13
Bunton, HaydnFitzroy19362-161811.1%----0.0%--7-118-9 /1
Quinlan, BernieFitzroy19952-171910.5%----0.0%--10-105-17
Murray, KevinFitzroy1963-64--34340.0%----0.0%--10-7 /15-13
Howell, VerdunRichmond1971--110.0%----0.0%--Caretaker
*Drawn Grand FinalfFinalist that year
pPremiers that year^Wooden spoon

The two sets of data on the far right of the table show where teams were in the two years prior to the coach taking charge, and it is fair to say that on the whole these coaches (like most) are brought in at a time of need.

And in most cases they do as good or better that the previous seasons.
Looking at Bob Skilton's 2 years at South Melbourne's coach as an example, he helped them move from a nett 6W-30L up to 16W-19L.

Malcolm Blight is an interesting example too. Possibly thrown in the deep-end at North Melbourne too early, the Roos went from finalists to also rans. An argument could also be made that the salad day at North had already been finished before he took over as well.
But in moving to Geelong, he could take a middling team and drive them to the finals, though ultimately missing the top prize.
This would be gained at Adelaide, where a grossly underperforming side was re-invigorated. Blight's finals record at Adelaide is the best among all Brownlow coaches.
And his season at St Kilda is best forgotten, after not being able, or perhaps personally interested, in righting that ship.

Contemporaries of Buckley, James Hird and Michael Voss, were similarly able to improve teams, before the all but inevitable axe for poor performance.
Voss could bring back to finals an aging Lions outfit, before that squad eventually turned over.
And Hird also returned Essendon to finals before circumstances of his club devoured the players and his legacy.

So, to Nathan Buckley.

With 99 games coached, the Buckley record stands as above, and among other Brownlow coaches, it is also a unique record. The Pies are the only team to have a won a premiership in the two years preceeding hiring a Brownlow coach, and the win-loss numbers across both those seasons are the highest of all on the list.

And as has been noted in the media, the record since then is a slowly descending arc towards 18th.
2012:   4th  ... 16 W / 6L - beaten Preliminary Finalist
2013:   6th  ... 14 W / 8 L - beaten Elimination Finalist
2014:   11th ... 11 W / 11 L
2015:   12th ... 10 W / 12 L
2016:   14th ... 2 W / 5 L ... and counting.

Where to from here for the only current Brownlow coach, and the one who inherited the team best placed among all other Brownlow coaches?

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