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Hayes, Ziebell among future coaching contenders

Ashley Browne  July 4, 2013 1:15 PM

Coaches have their say Danny Frawley joins to discuss this year's results
AFL 2012 Training - St Kilda 131112

AFL coaches have recognised Lenny Hayes for his off-field smarts

AS THE clock winds down on his magnificent playing career, Lenny Hayes would appear to have plenty of options for the next phase of his life.

The St Kilda champion has moonlighted on Fox Footy this year as a match day analyst in the 'War Room' and appears a natural in front of the camera.

But the 18 AFL coaches believe he has an equally bright future moving witches hats, toting a whiteboard and manning a headset.

Asked in the 2013 AFL coaches survey which current AFL player would make a great senior coach in the future, they gave Hayes three votes, the most of any active player.

Hayes is returning from injury and is yet to declare his future beyond this year. He has played 269 games in 15 seasons with St Kilda.

Hayes' former St Kilda teammate Luke Ball attracted two votes, as did Daniel Giansiracusa, Steve Johnson, Brad Sewell and interestingly, North Melbourne's Jack Ziebell.

Ziebell has played 72 games for North and has yet to captain the club, but is already being earmarked as a future AFL coach, which is remarkable.

Luke Hodge, Troy Chaplin, James Kelly, Heath Scotland and Rhyce Shaw also received votes.

The survey also asked the coaches how many hours per week they work. Six of the 18 coaches nominated between 60 and 70 hours per week, but it is the margins at either end that were surprising.

One coach reported a working week of no more than 50 hours, while at the other end there is a coach who claims to be working more than 100 hours per week at his profession.

This admission comes at a time when the AFL is working with both the players and coaches associations to address growing concerns about how those involved with the game at the elite level address their work-life balance.

Among the concerns addressed by the players is that they are required to start summer training too soon after the end of the previous season, and the AFLPA is pushing for a later start to pre-season with the prerequisite that all clubs resume on the same day.

But this was strongly rejected in the survey with 13 of the 18 coaches saying that all clubs should not start training on the same day.

The coaches also overwhelmingly rejected a cap on football department spending – seen by some in the industry as an equalisation idea worth pursuing – by 14 votes to four.