ON THE BACK of the structural changes made to Melbourne’s coaching staff this week, the Casey Demons' set up has been significantly altered as well.
Jade Rawlings has become the forward line coach of the AFL side, leaving a vacancy for Casey’s top job – a position filled by Sam Radford.
Radford has impressed with his work as assistant coach at AFLW and VFL level since joining the red and blue in 2016, and Rawlings believes he’s the perfect fit for the interim coaching gig.
“The club wouldn’t have gone down the path, in relation to the decisions they’ve made down at Casey, if they didn’t think it was the right decision,” Rawlings told Melbourne Media.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Sam as a person, but he’s really improved his coaching. He’s got good rapport with the AFL-listed players and a lot of respect from the VFL-listed players.
“He’s an enthusiastic guy, he’s really committed to the club and he’s very passionate, so I think it will work really successfully for the club which was really important in all the changes we’ve made.”
Prior to joining Melbourne’s AFLW panel, Radford spent six seasons coaching Parkdale in a stint that saw him win two premierships for the club.
While Radford has plenty of experience in coaching, his greatest strength is arguably his communication, as the high school teacher transfers his skills from St Bedes College to the football field.
“Sammy will run the program really well and the feel amongst the players on Tuesday night (when the news was broken) – while I’d like to think they were disappointed [with my departure] – I think they were looking forward to having Sam as their coach,” Rawlings said.
Although the Demons are sitting outside the top eight in the VFL with just three wins from nine games, Rawlings is confident they can still be successful in 2019.
“I think we’ve been challenged in the first half of the year because of personnel and experience, but I think the best footy is ahead of Casey," he said.
“They’re in a good position to attack the second half of the year.”