Carlton announces surprise twist in David Teague coaching saga

Carlton has surprisingly delayed making a decision on the future of coach David Teague, saying it will take the necessary time to decide what’s best for the struggling AFL club.

The Blues announced mid-season they would conduct a review into their football department and it was expected Teague would be sacked today after the board had digested its findings.

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However, reports Carlton cancelled a scheduled all-club meeting and instead released a statement on Monday morning saying it has “entered its next phase of the extensive independent football department review” which “contains detailed information from key stakeholders across the entire football department and will be used as a basis for the club to make necessary and informed decisions to take the football department forward and improve on-field performance”.

Carlton President Luke Sayers issued a letter to members saying the Blues would not be pressured into making decisions too quickly.

“With our AFL season complete, our club is now in a position to fully brief the senior leaders of the Football Department on the review findings. This process will commence this week and will involve consultation between the Board and football department regarding the recommendations provided,” Sayers said.

“The Club will take the necessary time required to absorb this review and any outcomes or decisions will be made in the timeframe that is in the best interest of the Club, not based on external expectations or pressure.

“As always, I remain committed to continue being open and transparent with our members and supporters regarding any outcomes and decisions that will arise out of this review, including the summarised findings, and as such, once this process is complete, our members will be the first to know.”

The update was met with incredulity from some in the football world. Broadcaster Shane McInnes tweeted: “Farcical. Failure to let David Teague know his fate today is a dereliction of duty by the Carlton hierarchy.”

Sports reporter Mark Gottlieb wrote: “Teague being hung out to dry … again. Even in the highly unlikely case the review says he should keeps his job how secure would he feel after the way he has been treated?”

Nine’s Ayrton Woolley reported there may still be a formal announcement later today.

“It’s understood David Teague and football department are currently being notified about the findings of the review,” he tweeted. “The Blues are – at this stage – playing down talk of any formal announcement today, but that could clearly change.”

Teague himself said on the weekend he believed he would learn his fate on Monday — a sentiment echoed by his manager Liam Pickering.

The rebuild continues at Carlton.Source:Getty Images

Under Teague’s two full seasons in charge, Carlton finished 11th in 2020 and 13th this year, prompting speculation he had coached his final game after a loss to GWS on the weekend.

Should Teague eventually be shown the door, Ross Lyon has emerged as a contender for the role after the former St Kilda and Fremantle mentor revealed on TV last week he would be interested should Carlton come calling.

Ex-Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson, who will be replaced by Sam Mitchell next season, has also been mentioned but refused to buy into talk about what lies ahead for his future in footy.

There was plenty of criticism of Carlton powerbrokers over their handling of Teague’s situation and the review even before Monday’s twist.

Speaking on the AFL Daily podcast, journalist Damian Barrett said Carlton “wouldn’t even tell him (Teague) last week when he asked (about his future)”.

“It certainly hasn’t been telling his management what the plans were,” Barrett added. “The club is refusing to basically converse with people and key players within their operations.

“To me, that’s the biggest take-out of this. The Carlton Football Club board has disrespected the people it ultimately had empoweredto run their football department.

“You should never ever get to a stage where there is a lack of respect for how those people are being treated.

“The stress and apprehension attached to that review being made public, to how it was conducted and the lack of consultation in the big picture from people at that club … it’s been disgraceful when it comes to the handling of people.

“That’s going to be an issue for an incoming coach.”

David Teague’s rough trot at Carlton is over.Source:Getty Images

Following his side’s brave 14-point defeat to Greater Western Sydney on Saturday, Teague hit out at the “media narrative” surrounding Carlton and called out the club’s announcement of the internal review through the media.

He fiercely denied losing relationships within the playing group and conceded he was “hurt” by those claims and the lack of backing from the club on this issue.

Teague, who holds a 21-28 across his tenure, also took umbrage with the media taking “pot shots” at him.

Speaking after the game, he knew the writing was on the wall.

“I understand the club is going to make a decision. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t look like it’s going to go in my favour, but in terms of what I’ve done and what I’ve been able to control, I know who I am, I know why I’ve done it and I’m really happy with it,” he said.

“I love this club I don’t want to sit up here and say anything but when the review gets announced through the media that’s not high performance. I’m going to challenge it, I’m going to call it out. This footy club has got some areas to improve.

“It hurt when people said I’d lost relationships with the players. That one probably dug a little bit deep because it’s not true.

“Yeah, there’s certain players who don’t love what I say all the time, but that’s what a high performance environment is.

“I think the media narrative hasn’t quite been fair on this football club and on this playing group.

“At the start of the year many of the so-called experts didn’t have us in the eight.”

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