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Craig emerges as candidate for Bulldogs coaching role

Neil Craig looks on during an Essendon Bombers training session at the True Value Solar Centre, Melbourne on November 29, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Neil Craig has emerged as a candidate for the Bulldogs' coaching position
NEIL Craig has emerged as a late contender for the Western Bulldogs coaching position.

Former Dog champion Luke Darcy, who is on the committee charged with appointing the new coach, said Craig was "an outstanding individual" who would be closely looked at to replace Brendan McCartney.

Craig, the former Adelaide coach who is Essendon's general manager of football performance, joins St Kilda director of coaching Luke Beveridge and Bulldogs assistant Brett Montgomery in the running for the job.

The Herald Sun reports that if Craig is not appointed as the Dogs' senior coach, he may also be considered as a mentor to an untried or inexperienced senior coach.

Darcy, club football director Chris Grant, football manager Graham Lowe and West Coast premiership coach John Worsfold are on the selection committee.

"He's (Craig) an outstanding individual in football. He would have to be a chance," Darcy said on Triple M on Tuesday morning.

"He's a brilliant person and he's got a great history in coaching.

"There are a huge array of outstanding candidates, and one of them will make a very good coach of the Western Bullldogs when it's announced.

"To give running commentary on that is not how it works."

Darcy said the general feedback given to the committee from those coaching candidates who had been interviewed was positive.

"Everyone who has presented has got great faith and excitement about where the Bulldogs' list is at and the talent that is available there," he said.

"And a lot of people are very bullish about the Bulldogs' future."

Craig was also interviewed for Gold Coast's senior coaching position before Rodney Eade eventually was selected for the role.

The 58-year-old coached Adelaide from 2004 to 2011, leading the Crows to five successive finals series.

He resigned in 2011, joining Melbourne the following year and taking over as caretaker coach at the Demons in 2013 after Mark Neeld was sacked.

Craig now leads the high performance division at the Bombers, having been appointed to the role of head of coaching development and strategy for 2014.

He was promoted to the executive role in April this year.

There is speculation that a move by Craig to the Bulldogs could open up a role for Mark Thompson at Essendon.

Thompson coached the Bombers in 2014 during James Hird's suspension, and the club remains keen to find a senior position for him.