According to the AFL’s official website, the trend is toward using assistant coaches to steer the sides taking part in the short format experiment going by the name of AFLX.
The Saint Kilda Saints, Hawthorn Hawks, Brisbane Lions and Essendon Bombers are four clubs that have chosen to use the tactic.
Ben McGlynn will be in charge of the Saints, Max Bailey will serve the head coaching role for the hawks, Ben Hudson will be leading the Lions and Hayden Skipworth will push the buttons for the Bombers.
It could possibly look good on a coaching resume when the time comes to fill head coaching vacancies.
The Melbourne Demons intend to use their strategy and education coordinator, Craig Jennings. The Tigers’ Xavier Clark will be joined by assistant coach Justin Leppitsch when the Richmond Tigers get underway next weekend in Sydney.
The Port Adelaide Power intend to make Ken Hinkley work the exhibition, as does the Gold Coast Suns, who will give new Coach Stuart Dew a chance to be blooded, as it would appear that he will be bloodied indeed in the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition.
Max Bailey seems eager to assume the spot currently occupied by Alastair Clarkson, telling hawthornfc.com.au, “‘Clarko’ called me maybe two weeks ago on the way home and he said, ‘Is this something you’d want to do?’ and I jumped at it, so it’s a good opportunity to be able to do that. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun … it’s a pretty exciting brand of football.”
Bailey is one of those sorts who made it to the coaching ranks without a stellar career as a player. He played four games for the Hawks in 2006, but did not get on the ground again until 2009 for two games. Returning in 2011, he played 16 times, but was on ground only twice in 2012. He concluded his senior career in 2013, making 19 appearances for the Hawks. He left the game afterward, just short of his 27th birthday.