By Hayley Wildes
The Melbourne Demons have had a mid-season shake-up in light of their 3-9 start to the 2019 AFL season and the Casey Demons will feel the ripple effects.
In a stunning move, Casey coach Jade Rawlings has been named as Melbourne’s new forward line coach in a full-time position and will step aside from his role at Casey effective immediately.
Rawlings, who led the Demons to the 2018 VFL grand final, was in his second year at the helm and had instilled a tough, defensive minded game style at Casey.
Sam Radford, who was an assistant coach to Rawlings at Casey, will take over the reins as VFL coach.
Other major changes to Melbourne’s football department include Max Rooke moving from forward line coach to development coach, while Brendan McCartney has been moved from defensive coach to a role mentoring the AFL and VFL assistant coaches.
As published on Melbourne’s official website (melbournefc.com.au), general manager of football operations at Melbourne, Josh Mahoney highlighted why the changes were being made mid-season.
“Over the last couple of weeks, the club has taken the opportunity to seek feedback from players, coaches and football staff to identify the clear opportunities for us to improve for the back-half of the season.” He said.
Speaking of Radford, Mahoney said he was the standout candidate to take over from Rawlings at Casey.
“He’s already got established relationships out there with the players, he knows our game style, he’s coached senior footy in his own right to premierships at amateur level and we know he’s excited by that opportunity.”
Casey currently sits 11th on the VFL ladder with a 3-6 and Radford will make his VFL head coaching debut on Sunday when the Demons head to Coburg to face the struggling Tigers who have just one win to their name.