Two former AFL greats have publicly suggested there is more to the planned redundancy for highly regarded Gold Coast Suns assistant coach Dean Solomon.
Solomon, a former Essendon and Fremantle star, was one of five Suns coaching staff to be made redundant as part of sweeping cuts made by the AFL as they look to shed 20 per cent of their staff due to the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Despite the cuts affecting staff across all levels of the AFL, former Bombers player Andrew Welsh and Collingwood great Robert Shaw both took to Twitter to suggest Solomon had been hard done by, and that it was short-sighted to lose such a highly regarded assistant coach.
Welsh claimed Solomon, who was reportedly the runner-up to Justin Longmuir for the Fremantle Dockers head coaching job last summer, was a victim of club politics in which Suns coach Stuart Dew felt ‘threatened’ by Solomon’s reputation.
“This smells a bit for mine, perhaps a senior coach seeing how good (Dean Solomon) is and is threatened but will hide behind soft cap decision,” Welsh posted on Twitter.
“No doubt every club will want to talk to him but the call doesn’t seem like a GC best interest call.”
Former AFL teammate sticks up for Dean Solomon
Welsh was a premiership teammate of Solomon’s for the Bombers in 2000, but any bias he might have shown was lessened when Magpies great Robert Shaw also questioned the decision.
Shaw said a ‘money over people’ attitude would only lead to poor outcomes for the AFL.
“Not specifically directed to Solly but unashamed bias due to respect and love for the bloke,” Shaw posted to Twitter.
“But $$$ over people will see so many really good talented club people across all clubs lost to the game. @SollySolomon shouldn’t be lost to football.”
Close to 20 per cent of roles across the AFL will disappear as part of a massive nation-wide restructure due to the financial effects of COVID-19.
Not specifically directed to Solly but unashamed bias due to respect and love for the bloke.— Robert Shaw (@shawry_analyst) August 24, 2020
But $$$ over people will see so many really good talented club people across all clubs lost to the the game. @SollySolomon shouldn’t be lost to football. #genuine #loyal #caring https://t.co/oaf54424Sc
The AFL announced details of its planned restructure - with a new structure to come into effect on November 1 - on Monday, which included multiple changes to and reductions in its staffing.
The league had previously stood down about 80 per cent of its workforce in March.
"For our industry and game to emerge stronger from this ongoing COVID-19 challenge and the increased uncertainty we face over coming years, we need to significantly change our business model for not only the AFL but the wider football community," AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said.
"We have very clear priorities that we need to focus on, and I am confident that we have made the right decisions around the structure needed to deliver on those key priorities."