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Punters think Worsfold the man for Essendon job

IT’S not like it’s the most attractive job ever.

But, it’s still an AFL coaching job and there are guaranteed to be no shortage of suitors for the post at Essendon, as the Bombers conduct a hunt for their next leader.

The man the punters think will be at the head of the Bombers’ brains trust next season is former West Coast premiership mentor John Worsfold.

The announcement of arguably the most diverse coaching selection panel in AFL history has done little to harm John Worsfold’s chances of taking the helm at the Bombers next year, according to punters.

Since the announcement of the Bombers sub committee, which is made up of ex-players, coaches and administrators, our friends at online bookmaker sportsbet.com.au have continued to see a steady stream of money for Worsfold at $2.40.

Others in the market are Fremantle assistant coach Simon Lloyd ($3.50) and Geelong’s Blake Caracella ($7). Stuart Dew, once touted as favourite for the gig, has drifted out to $9.

“With Woosha’s change of heart, his exemplary coaching record, and with the Crows also sniffing around for a new coach, it’s looking increasingly likely the Bombers will pounce soon,” the bookie’s Richard Hummerston said.

Following James Hird being pushed to resign his post after two years of legal stoushes and a supplements scandal that rocked the club to its core, whoever takes on the job will have the shadow of WADA still looming over the Bombers hangar.

Worsfold, who stepped in as coaching director at Adelaide following the death of coach Phil Walsh earlier this year, says the job has reignited his passion for coaching.

“There’s no doubt that having been back involved and then seeing how great an environments footy clubs are, there is some thought there that it’s a good place to be,” Worsfold said.

“I’ll give it (a return to coaching) more thought than I certainly was going to at the start of the season.

And he has the backing of Bombers’ legend Mark Thompson.

“I think they probably need at this stage of their journey a coach that’s got some experience,” Thompson said.

“He’s got the reputation of being solid and strong.

“The thing John should consider is whether he’d be a good fit for Essendon.

“If I was him I’d set some rules early.

“He’d want to make sure that Essendon is prepared to do it together.

“He’s got to be able to work with these people and they’ve got to be able to work with John.”

Popular Bomber Brendon Goddard agrees the club needs an experienced coach to lead them into the future.

“I’d like to see someone with a bit of experience,” Goddard said.

“I don’t think we need to go an inexperienced coach … I don’t think our list is at that point, I’d like to see a strong, opinionated kind of guy.”

“Obviously it’s slim pickings out there with guys that have been successful and have coached a long time.

“There’s a few obvious names that pop up.”

Worsfold won two premierships with the Eagles as a player and one as coach and is seen as the perfect fit for the Bombers.

Essendon chairman Paul Little hopes that the drug saga that has claimed the club will be over by Round 1 of next season.

“We will leave no stone unturned in finding the best possible candidate for the role,” Little said.

“We’re confident and hopeful that the (WADA appeal) process could conclude by late November, early December.

“Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing to have that, for the first time in three years to have our playing group able to take the field without the constant burden of this ASADA mess hanging over them?”

Next Essendon coach

John Worsfold ($2.40, steady)

Simon Lloyd ($3.50, steady)

Blake Caracella ($7, steady)

Stewart Dew ($9, out from $7)

Mark Harvey ($11, out from $10)

Matthew Egan ($11, out from $10)

Nathan Bassett ($12, steady)

Scott Burns ($12, steady)

Hawks still premiership fancies as teams jostle for finals position ahead of final round

ON the hunt for their third premiership on the trot, Hawthorn is the team all the punters want.

Rated a $2.60 chance with CrownBet.com.au ahead of the final round of regular season AFL football for 2015, the Hawks head minor premiers the Fremantle Dockers ($4) and the surprise packet West Coast Eagles ($4.50).

They’re the only three teams in the market, with the Sydney Swans, at $9, the only other club under double figure odds.

While the top eight is locked away, there are several games that can impact on the exact positioning of each club.

The Dockers are the only team to have their position secure.

West Coast must beat St Kilda to lock down second spot, otherwise it will concede that if Hawthorn can knock over Carlton (guffaw) and could finish as low as fourth if Sydney beats the Gold Coast.

The Hawks could end fourth if they lose and Sydney wins, while the Swans could fall to sixth if they lose and both Richmond and the Western Bulldogs win by a lot.

The fifth placed Tigers can finish fourth if they beat North Melbourne and the Swans lose, but could also finish eighth if they lose by a lot and Adelaide and the Dogs win.

If the Dogs smash Brisbane and both Sydney and Richmond lose, they can finish fourth. They can also finish eighth, for similar reasons to the Tigers.

Adelaide’s brilliant form has it entrenched in the eight and it could finish as high as fifth, if it wins and both the Tigers and Dogs lose. Lose and they could finish eighth.

If North beats Richmond by a lot, they could finish sixth. If it loses, it will finish eighth.

One game that makes absolutely no difference to the make up of the eight, but has still caused some controversy is the Fremantle vs. Port Adelaide clash.

Freo has top spot sewn up, while the Power can’t make the finals.

That’s encouraged coach Ross Lyon to rest 11 of his best players for the trip to Adelaide.

The Dockers have already confirmed that Matthew Pavlich, Luke McPharlin, Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy, Stephen Hill and Lee Spurr will all be rested this week to freshen up ahead of the finals.

“With so many players watching the game from the stands this week, punters have understandably gone sour on the minor premiers,” sportsbet.com.au’s Hummerston said.

“We’ve taken twice as much money on Port Adelaide than Fremantle since Ross Lyon made his intentions clear.

“When the market opened, Fremantle were $1.75 favourites, but, after securing top spot on Sunday, the rumour mill went into overdrive and the Dockers drifted to $3.20 outsiders.

“And with the AFL giving their approval for the drastic changes, they continued to slide, Fremantle now paying a handsome $6.50 to win their last game of the home and away season.

“With almost two thirds of their best 22 out, we’re not giving the Dockers any chance.

“We’ve given them a 50 point head start and the punters still aren’t interested.”

The Dockers did similar against St Kilda in 2013 and got absolutely smoked in the final round.

Lyon doesn’t want a repeat against the Power this weekend.

“We’ve already spoken to the player group about it,” Lyon said.

“We weren’t thrilled with our performance against St Kilda in 2013.

“We were really unhappy with people that were given an opportunity at the end of 2013, and didn’t perform with the intensity and the effort that we were looking for.

“So we’re certainly not saying we’re not going over to win. We’re going over to aim to win and play with intensity.

“We’ll do a fierce review on it like we normally do.

“So we’re not backing off.

“It’s obviously different from the mid season break where they go away for five days and they back right off.

“The difference is you keep going here.

“You have a normal week.

“You train and you review and they’ll train over the weekend.

“Their mind won’t be off football.

“But obviously that pressure of performance isn’t there for a week and that anxiety isn’t there for a week.

“So they’ll probably sleep a little bit better.”

2015 AFL Premiership market

Hawthorn Hawks ($2.60)

Fremantle Dockers ($4)

West Coast Eagles ($4.50)

Sydney Swans ($9)

Richmond Tigers ($17)

Adelaide Crows ($26)

Western Bulldogs ($34)

North Melbourne Kangaroos ($51)