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Mick's case of deja vu with the son of a former favourite

Jayden Foster of the Blues in action during the Carlton Blues training session at Visy Park, Melbourne on December 22, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Draftee Jayden Foster has fitted in beautifully, says Mick Malthouse
I look at him and it brings back a lot of memories. I enjoyed coaching Peter and I'm sure I'll enjoy coaching Jayden
Mick Malthouse

WHEN Carlton selected 19-year-old Jayden Foster in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, it knew the history his father, Peter, had with the coach.

Minutes after using pick No.63 to call out Foster's name, recruiting manager Shane Rogers told AFL.com.au the youngster had the same mannerisms as his old man.

He then reflected on how rare it was for a senior coach to coach across generations.

Peter Foster played 170 games across 14 seasons at Fitzroy and Footscray, including six years under Mick Malthouse (1984-89).

"It's a good story. It wouldn't happen much in AFL footy," Rogers said.

Malthouse has only coached two generations once in his extraordinary career - coaching Max Crow in 12 games at Footscray in 1986 and his son Justin in his one and only game for Collingwood in 2004.

He is one of just 10 men to record that piece of history in AFL football.

Jock McHale coached two generations of Twomeys, Coventrys and Greens during his 714 games at Collingwood. Kevin Sheedy coached the Watsons and the Neagles; Leigh Matthews and John Northey both coached the Pickens and David Parkin coached the Whitnalls.

The only other men to do it are Percy Bentley who coached the Gills at Carlton; Wally Carter who coached the Ryans and Allans at North Melbourne; and another famous Magpie coach Bob Rose who had a hand in the Turners, Fellowes and Erwin's career.

Whether or not the Fosters get added to that list remains to be seen.

What can be said with certainty is that the mutual respect between the elders, Malthouse and Foster, is real.

"He was a terrific player. A booming left foot kick," Malthouse told AFL.com.au when asked to reflect on his former charge, Peter, the week before Christmas.

It’s also a nice coincidence that Malthouse has the son of a player he coached in his first season on his list in what is sure to be a record-breaking year.

Foster's first game under Malthouse came in round 10, 1984.

It was Foster's 24th birthday and his fifth season in the game after three years at Fitzroy.

Malthouse, who at 30 was just seven years older than Foster, was looking for answers in his first season as coach.

He was fed up after Footscray had lost its fifth game for the season - going down to Melbourne, which had won just two games to that point, by 78 points.

Kelvin Templeton had kicked eight goals for the Demons while Peter Thorne – an East Perth product not at the front of mind for many footy fans of that era – chipped in with seven.

Malthouse did not muck around.

He approached Foster – who had crossed from Fitzroy in 1983 but played just four games with his second club – on the Saturday night and told him he would be in the team the following week.

The coach said he would try Foster at centre half-back.

Foster had never played there before but Malthouse needed someone in defence and along with reserves coach Don McKenzie decided the idea was a good one.

Foster was one of six inclusions as the club swung the selection axe with vigour.

Three of the players left out of the team - Chris Hansen, Ian Rickman and Stephen Lunn - never played seniors again.

When Foster took the field for the first time under Malthouse it was with the eighth-placed Bulldogs taking on the fourth-placed Collingwood.

Down by 29 points at half-time, Footscray fought back for a famous five-point victory, the game won on the last kick of the day when full forward Simon Beasley kicked a goal after marking a kick across goal from Magpies defender Graeme Allan.

Despite the Magpies' Denis Banks using him as a stepladder to take one of the marks of the decade that day, and it being Foster's 12th senior game, he said it was in reality the day his career began.

"I never looked back from that day on," Foster told AFL.com.au.

Not only did he play under Malthouse, he flourished.

Foster played 99 of his 170 games with Footscray in Malthouse's first stint as coach between 1984-1989.

He won a club best and fairest, was placed two more times, represented Victoria in state of origin and twice finished top 10 in the Brownlow Medal before he decided his time was up when a young Tiger named Matthew Richardson ran him off his legs in 1993.

Malthouse did not look back from that day either.

Seven hundred games later he is still coaching.

He has won three premierships and exactly 400 games after setting Foster on his footballing course.

In 30 years as coach, his teams have made 20 finals series and is about to set off on a memorable journey in 2015.

In round five, the 61-year-old will break the all-time games coaching record the legendary Jock McHale has held since he finished up in 1949.

That he will do so with another Foster on the list, a player with the potential to become the second father-son pair the famous coach has selected to play senior football, just underlines his longevity.

Jayden Foster (second from left) with new Blues Clem Smith, Dillon Viojo-Rainbow and Blaine Boekhorst.





Not that Malthouse will be talking up Jayden's prospects at this stage.

He knows the young Foster needs to make his own mark and has a lot to learn.

But he is generous enough to relay what it means to watch the son of one his former players train.

"I look at him and it brings back a lot of memories. I enjoyed coaching Peter and I'm sure I'll enjoy coaching Jayden," Malthouse said.

"He's fitted in beautifully. There is so much of his old man in him."

That old man is just happy to see his son get a chance and he knows Malthouse will be hard but fair.

"He [Malthouse] taught me not to be intimidated," Foster said.

"Without Mick I wouldn't have done anything. He pushed the right buttons with me."

Additional reporting by Ben Guthrie

Coaching two generations

Mick Malthouse
Max Crow (Footscray)
Justin Crow (Collingwood)

Peter Foster (Footscray)
potentially Jayden Foster (Carlton)

Kevin Sheedy
Tim Watson (Essendon)
Jobe Watson (Essendon)

Merv Neagle (Essendon)
Jay Neagle (Essendon)

Percy Bentley
Frank Gill (Carlton)
Dick Gill (Carlton)

Wally Carter
Reg Ryan (North Melbourne)
Graham Ryan (North Melbourne)

Ron Allan (North Melbourne)
Barry Allan (North Melbourne)

Bob Rose
Ken Turner (Collingwood)
Jamie Turner (Collingwood)
Graeme Fellowes (Collingwood)
Wes Fellowes (Collingwood)
Mick Erwin (Collingwood)
Michael Erwin (Collingwood)

Jock McHale
Bill P. Twomey (Collingwood)
Bill J. Twomey (Collingwood)
Pat Twomey (Collingwood)

Syd Coventry (Collingwood)
Hugh Coventry (Collingwood)

Jack W Green (Collingwood)
Jack T Green (Collingwood)

David Parkin
Graeme Whitnall (Carlton)
Lance Whitnall (Carlton)

Leigh Matthews
Billy Picken (Collingwood)
Marcus Picken (Brisbane Lions)

John Northey
Billy Picken (Sydney Swans)
Marcus Picken (Brisbane Lions)

'Checker' Hughes
Richie Emselle
Ken Emselle

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs