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I didn't come here to sack coach, Suns boss insists

Football

Gold Coast chief executive Mark Evans denies he arrived at the Suns with a pre-conceived plan to sack senior AFL coach Rodney Eade.

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Evans, who was the AFL’s general manager of football operations for four years, was appointed to lead the strife-torn Suns in February this year.

Eade was told his tenure would not extend beyond his initial three-year contract on Monday and departed the club immediately.

The highly-respected former Western Bulldogs and Sydney coach had to deal with myriad cultural and behavioural issues at the club on his appointment and wasn’t helped by a high injury toll in his first two seasons.

Evans’ appointment was widely seen as the AFL sending a trusted lieutenant to bring about widespread change at the under-performing club.

But Evans denies Eade’s papers were effectively stamped upon his arrival from AFL House.

“I think it would be disrespectful to say that you come in thinking that you’ve got some plan and you just magically sit around for five months before you play the plan out,” Evans told Fox Footy’s AFL360 last night.

“That’s not the case.

Rodney Eade and Power coach Ken Hinkley at a media call in Shanghai. Photo: Tracey Nearmy / AAP

“I came here because I believed that this club had a pretty good footing that could grow and a business that could grow – I was excited by that challenge.

“I haven’t backed away from that… but as of (Monday) we decided that the next platform would come with a different coach.”

The Suns haven’t played finals in seven seasons, while Greater Western Sydney, who entered the AFL a year later, played off in a preliminary final last year and are one of this year’s top fancies for the flag.

Gold Coast chairman Tony Cochrane told a press conference yesterday that Eade’s departure was simply about wins and losses.

Evans conceded Eade had to deal with more off-field issues than he should have in an ideal world, but added his ongoing internal review was strongly focused on future success.

“There’s no doubt that he addressed a few things early on and there’s no doubt that he had a wretched run with injury certainly in the first year and possibly even in the second, but none of that sits as part of what I was looking at,” he said.

“I’m not going to downplay anything about Rodney… every time you do a review like this you’re looking to where to next and I don’t think there was the support for Rodney to do that for us.”

-AAP 

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