The difficulty when listening/watching to each senior coach press conference is understanding what may be true, strategically inserted, vague or directly misleading.
Take in just a few over the course of a season and you would think most comments are true, listen and watch a ridiculous amount of them over a sustained period provides better understanding and a clearer picture.
Thoughts on each senior coach currently in the AFL:
ADELAIDE – MATTHEW NICKS
There is nowhere to hide in Adelaide with so many quality journos at each presser, information not yet known or a simmering of intelligence to the public can often be flushed out in a Nicks presser. He speaks directly most of the time but when he becomes vague it usually means there may be further information.
BRISBANE – CHRIS FAGAN
It is a coin flip for Fagan each presser on him being grumpy or jovial. Most of the time when he is buttered up with some humour in a presser he will provide further information, but catch him on a poor day and there will be little revealed. Most of the time Fagan wants to give out next to no information.
CARLTON – MICHAEL VOSS
Straight up Voss mostly refuses to provide extra information that is not publicly known, that also filters through to his assistant coaching group as they often provide the minimum when quizzed. He is more open following a game than before a game.
COLLINGWOOD – CRAIG MCRAE
McRae has been true to his word on providing correct information while also going overboard at times providing team news ahead of scheduled release. This approach in a successful year hopefully changes a few other coaches in the AFL. It will be interesting to see if there is any change from McRae in 2024.
ESSENDON – BRAD SCOTT
In his first year at the Bombers Brad Scott was mostly guarded with his responses. He did however elaborate at times to control the public narrative on certain players to protect them. Expect pretty much the same approach in 2024.
FREMANTLE – JUSTIN LONGMUIR
There weren’t too many misses from Longmuir in 2023 as he tried to navigate a slide on the ladder. He applies a genuine response to most questions at each presser. He will be a fascinating watch in 2024 responding to questions if the wins don’t come early in the season.
GEELONG – CHRIS SCOTT
Chris Scott could talk for 10-20 minutes in a presser and say absolutely nothing, he actually has this down to a fine art. Over time he hasn’t revealed much in the way of new information and is deliberately vague when asked specifically when his players are set to return from injury. Scott does actually set the agenda early in the season and often refers to those comments throughout the year for better understanding.
GOLD COAST – DAMIEN HARDWICK
Hardwick is in a prime position on the Gold Coast to hide plenty from public consumption in 2024. Hidden away from most of the media team selection news may only hit at scheduled release each week. Expect Hardwick to be promoting the team over the pre-season but it will be all business when the season starts.
GWS GIANTS – ADAM KINGSLEY
Kingsley was pretty honest in his first season as senior coach at the Giants providing updates on players when requested. Another team that is hidden away mostly from the media in Sydney which provides a decent buffer for the playing group. Expect a similar approach in 2024.
HAWTHORN – SAM MITCHELL
Mitchell was reluctant to share information on team selection news last season often referring that he hasn’t had an opportunity to speak with players first. He also offers very little in the way of intel on his opposition thoughts for an upcoming game in the way of tagging specific players. With the Hawks progressing well expect a similar approach in 2024.
MELBOURNE – SIMON GOODWIN
Goodwin appears to have moved into a closed mode against media in 2023 being very defensive at times with his answers only to have correct information filter out in other ways. He will be an interesting watch in 2024 on his approach and willingness to be more open.
NTH MELBOURNE – ALASTAIR CLARKSON
We didn’t get to see much of Clarko in 2023 but when available he was constantly positive on his young playing group and the future ahead. Expect him to divert away from direct questions with storytelling and reminding everyone of historical examples of what success looks like.
PORT ADELAIDE – KEN HINKLEY
Once a coach that was quite open with information Hinkley has started to close down as much as possible. Not willing to provide details ahead of team selection a Hinkley presser late in the week is now normal. Expect a similar approach in 2024.
RICHMOND – ADEM YZE
Like most new coaches Yze will be somewhat open early in his senior coaching career trying to prove himself. He has been around for a while as an assistant coach so we may not get the full package of information. Expect a pretty honest 2024 from Yze.
ST KILDA – ROSS LYON
Lyon has a very dry sense of humour and enjoys his own jokes immensely but underneath is a very sharp coach quite aware of what he makes public. He’ll often try to set the narrative speaking for quite a while based on just one question and can get very defensive when asked a specific question where he thinks he has provided enough information already. Expect the same approach in 2024.
SYDNEY – JOHN LONGMIRE
An early presser each week for Longmire ahead of injury reports can provide some good intelligence but for the most part players if they get through training may be available to play. He loves to educate and correct inaccuracies along the way. Longmire will enjoy not having to answer the standard weekly question on Lance Franklin now.
WEST COAST – ADAM SIMPSON
Simpson was under immense pressure for just about everything last season at West Coast. With his position under constant scrutiny each week there wasn’t much footy discussed but when he did speak, he was quite open and honest across the season with information. Hopefully there are more football and player-based questions in 2024.
WESTERN BULLDOGS – LUKE BEVERDIGE
Beveridge has his own style of protecting his players and gets quite defensive when there are narratives about that he doesn’t agree with. For the most part he will guard player information unless there is a necessary answer required and can be expansive on his thoughts on the game. Expect a similar approach in 2024.
Article by @aflratingsPete
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