'Apply for Centrelink': AFL's brutal advice for out-of-work coaches

Collingwood assistant coaches Nick Maxwell and Matthew Boyd, pictured here at Magpies headquarters.
Collingwood assistant coaches Nick Maxwell and Matthew Boyd. (AAP Image/Scott Barbour)

AFL coaches let go by their clubs during the coronavirus crisis have been told to apply for Centrelink or look for manual labour jobs.

The AFL and its 18 clubs have stood down around 80 per cent of their workforce in anticipation of a fall in revenue of up to $1 billion this year caused by the suspension of the premiership season.

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All 18 senior coaches still have their jobs, but a number of assistant coaches have been let go.

“Coaches have been told to apply for Centrelink payments or pick up a job as a manual labourer as they fight through several months without their AFL incomes,” the Herald Sun reported on Thursday.

AFL Coaches Association chief executive Mark Brayshaw said coaches need to face the harsh new reality.

“There’s a raft of advice we’re providing to the coaches, starting with legal advice which, thankfully, hasn’t been called upon,” Brayshaw said.

“We are also helping them to become aware of some of the federal governments initiatives that people that have been stood down can get access to, including superannuation and Services Australia opportunities.

“We have also invited them to put their hand up for short-term manual labour-type jobs that some industries are looking for.”

Silver lining in AFL coaching cuts?

AFL legend Malcolm Blight is hopeful leaner coaching panels and a purer form of the game will emerge after the financial firestorm.

Blight, who coached Adelaide to flags in 1997 and 1998, believes clubs will have no choice but to slash coaching budgets even after some level of normality returns.

“I think the amount of money being wasted inside football clubs, particularly in coaching departments, has been excessive,” Blight told SEN on Thursday.

“I've thought it for years, I've said it for years. I hate people losing their jobs but this is going to be a reality check for everybody.”

Blight used the infamous footage of an Essendon coaching box from last season that was crammed with people and laptops to illustrate his point.

“It's just illogical and impractical and for the football world to get away with it, I've been mystified for years by it,” he said.

“I hope it does change and that way we might get a pure game back.

“... It's a players' game, let the players play. We should be trying to help them through the little hiccups, not trying to invent the hiccups.”