Legend Madden weighs in on Essendon saga

·2-min read

Essendon icon Simon Madden believes the strife-torn AFL club should tread carefully when considering an experienced coach to take over from Ben Rutten.

Madden, who is one of the famous club's greatest players after making 378 appearances for the Bombers, quit as an Essendon board member following the disastrous last-ditch attempt to lure master coach Alastair Clarkson.

Essendon's pursuit of Clarkson failed as he chose North Melbourne instead, with the Bombers finally axing Rutten after their final home-and-away season loss against Richmond.

After nine years on Essendon's board, Madden felt he had no other option but to quit after backing in Rutten to see out his contract in 2023.

His exit came as long-time chief executive Xavier Campbell departed, while former president Paul Brasher also quit after being ousted by David Barham.

Essendon have put together a committee, headlined by Robert Walls and Jordan Lewis, to choose the club's next coach, with Barham indicating he would like an experienced leader.

But Madden pointed to Mick Malthouse with Collingwood in 2010 as being the last untried coach to win a premiership.

"Every coach since then has been a new coach in his first term," Madden told SEN on Tuesday.

"Both (Richmond's Damien Hardwick) and (Melbourne's Simon Goodwin), Mark (Thompson) when he was down at Geelong, they all had a glitch in their first few years, and they actually were supported by the club and then they went on to do good things.

"I just thought we had a contract with the coach and we should go another year.

"You get halfway through next year and if Essendon are two wins, 10 losses, then it's a pretty easy decision that you've got to make with the coach, but until you give them a go there's a bit of a question mark."

Madden hopes the in-fighting and instability at Essendon can stop and the former AFL powerhouse can go about winning their first final in 18 years.

After suffering an elimination final exit in 2021, the Bombers slumped to 15th this season with a 7-15 record.

"I'm hoping that because of that great change they will have to settle down," Madden said.

"One of the problems with the club over the last ten years has been the lack of stability, through the supplements saga and then on top of that like every other club with COVID."

Madden also backed long-time Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro to remain at the club despite reports of tension between him and football manager Josh Mahoney.