Sacked Essendon coach Ben Rutten has sent the AFL rumour mill into overdrive after he was spotted at Richmond headquarters on Friday.
The Bombers' internal failings have been laid bare over the past fortnight, with several of the club's heavyweights being sacked or falling on their sword amid the turmoil.
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The club made a disastrous late attempt to lure Alastair Clarkson before he agreed to join North Melbourne, with Rutten forced to endure days of uncertainty and public embarrassment before eventually being sacked.
Chief executive Xavier Campbell and board member Simon Madden have since announced their departures, while football director Sean Wellman will step down once his replacement has been appointed and the handover completed.
However the news doesn't appear all bad for Rutten after he was seen exiting Richmond headquarters on Friday afternoon.
Sacked Essendon coach Ben Rutten may have already fallen on his feet, and could be in line for a move to another footy powerhouse. @NatYoannidis has the exclusive details. https://t.co/WVPEgOwgcf @NatYoannidis @7AFL #7AFL #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/WwJZneAlLG
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) August 26, 2022
The Tigers have an assistant coach position available after Adam Kingsley agreed to join GWS as their next head coach.
According to 7News reporter Natalie Yoannidis, Rutten was at Punt Road for an 'informal chat' with Damien Hardwick and other Richmond football staff.
Rutten has previously worked as an assistant under Hardwick at the Tigers, helping them win the flag in 2017.
“Ben Rutten’s a terrific coach, we’ve had him in these four walls, we know what he’s capable of and how well he can do the job,” Hardwick said last week.
“What I do empathise with is the human element, it’s a tough situation but that’s the caper we’re in.
“It’s unfortunate in nature, but what we care about is the person and we hope Ben himself is doing OK.”
Hardwick said the Tigers believe Rutten is a “great coach”, a “wonderful man” and a “very good servant”.
Hope Ben Rutten rejoins Richmond and does a bang up job over there.
Wish him nothing but the best. https://t.co/E6TFc6D3sQ
— Don Caldwell ℹ️ (@DonCaldwelll) August 26, 2022
Bring him home!
— thatbro (@thatbro83) August 26, 2022
Good on him , he was shafted at the bombers. Let another team reap the rewards of having the Truck on their side.
— Brad Turtle H (@mr_tommy_turtle) August 26, 2022
— Steven Wright (@smwright1965) August 26, 2022
I called it last Saturday said Ben Rutten will be back at Richmond by end of week.Wishing him nothing but the best.
— sheryl (@luvmedons) August 26, 2022
Robert Walls and Jordan Lewis to find new Essendon coach
Essendon have revealed Robert Walls and Jordan Lewis will be among a six-person committee to lead an external review into the AFL club and help them find a new coach.
Walls and Hawthorn premiership star Lewis will join chair Josh Mahoney, Melbourne Vixens netball coach Simone McKinnis, former NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn and Bombers board director Dorothy Hisgrove as part of the six-person committee.
They will be entrusted with conducting an external review as well as driving the process to select the next coach.
The external club review and the coaching sub-committee will make recommendations to the board, who will then make the final decisions.
"The coaching process will be thorough and rigorous. This is a well credentialed group of individuals who all bring diverse and unique skill sets," new president David Barham wrote on the club's website.
"I have been clear that we cannot continue to only review ourselves and this external review is critical for the club's success moving forward.
"This review will be comprehensive, robust and integrated. We will leave "no stone unturned" in this process.
"We are committed to making the necessary changes to deliver our club its next AFL premiership."
Essendon have already stated they want an experienced coach, with James Hird, Ross Lyon, Don Pyke, Justin Leppitsch, Leon Cameron and Mark Williams among the names already floated.
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