Main content

It's official: Worsfold named Essendon coach

Footy Feed: Danger latest, Woosha lands Matt Thompson with your Monday Footy Feed
It's a great opportunity to step in and help build the next premiership team of the Essendon footy club
Essendon coach John Worsfold

ESSENDON has confirmed John Worsfold as its new senior coach for at least the next three years.

Worsfold has been the hot favourite to win the appointment since mid-September and confirmed he was locked in as the Bombers' choice last Thursday.

The 2006 West Coast premiership coach is the permanent replacement for James Hird, who resigned in August and was replaced by interim coach Matthew Egan for the final three games of the season.

Dons to unveil Worsfold

When Worsfold's former assistant Phil Walsh was tragically killed this year, the 47-year-old joined Adelaide as interim coaching director and his energy to coach was sparked.  

"I never lost the passion but I was tired at the end of my reign, 12 years at West Coast," he said on Monday.

"I needed a break and it would have been the wrong thing to remain coach of that group without the energy to do it.

"AFL footy is my passion, it's what I love doing, and it's why I've done it for 26 years.

"I feel refreshed and energetic and really ready to do the job."  

Worsfold is returning to the hot seat after a two-year absence, having resigned from West Coast after 12 seasons, with a win-loss record of 140-117 and two draws.

The club's longest serving coach, he led the Eagles to Grand Finals in 2005 and 2006, winning the 2006 premiership with one of the game's great midfields. 

Worsfold joined the Laws of the Game Committee in 2014 after leaving the Eagles and was appointed as chairman of the AFL Coaches Association later that year, replacing coaching great David Parkin. 

He declared his hand in mid-September saying he wanted to coach the Bombers following a charm offensive from the club, which sent a contingent of leaders to meet with him in Adelaide.

The length of Worsfold's contract was said to be a sticking point in his negotiations late last week but by then he was confirmed as the club's choice.

He said he was determined to be the club's net premiership coach.

"I'd love to, absolutely, if they give me enough time we'll get there," he said.

"It might be done in three years, if not it might take four. 

"The aim is to give this club the opportunity to have a squad that's capable of winning a premiership and grabbing that opportunity."

Worsfold said he had met with a dozen Essendon players on Monday morning – including Jobe Watson and Dyson Heppell – to outline his vision for the club.

He was on his toes when asked about the irony of taking over during the club's ongoing anti-doping saga, given his former profession.

"When they rank professions for respect and honesty, pharmacists are number one," he said.

It is not yet clear if former Gold Coast coach and Worsfold's 1992 and 1994 West Coast premiership teammate Guy McKenna will form part of the Bombers' panel.

Worsfold said he had 10 assistants in mind to speak to about filling any vacant positions on the Essendon panel. 

Collingwood assistant Scott Burns and former Western Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney reportedly made up the final three candidates to win the Essendon position.

"Our final shortlist was highly qualified and credential potential candidates," CEO Xavier Campbell said.

"John, through the final round, was a very clear, compelling candidate."