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Coaches say they are the most important people in football clubs

AFL coaches pose for a photograph during the 2015 AFL coaches portrait session at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on March 25, 2015. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
AFL coaches pose for a photograph ahead of the 2015 season

COACHES have underlined the fact the buck stops with them, declaring themselves the most important people at football clubs. 

In an exclusive survey for AFL.com.au and the AFL Record, 50 per cent of the League's senior coaches said they were the main men, superseding the CEO (37.5 per cent), captain (6.25 per cent) and head of fitness/conditioning (6.25 per cent).

None of the coaches said the club's star player or recruiting manager were the most important factor in success. 

With the work/life balance of coaches under the microscope in recent years, only one coach said he was now working fewer hours in 2015.

The majority (62.5 per cent) were working the same hours, with 31.25 per cent working more.

Half the coaches said they were aware they needed to improve their work/life balance, with 43.75 per cent getting better in that area. Only one coach conceded he couldn't get the balance right.

Match day was predictably the most stressful part of the week for the majority of coaches (75 per cent).

Coaches have their say on the AFL's best - position by position

When it came to the crucial fixture slots, 90 per cent of coaches supported Thursday night football, while 60 per cent wanted a day Grand Final to remain.

They were reluctant to support a fixture that saw the bottom six teams play off in the final rounds to determine draft picks.

The majority (56.25 per cent) did, however, support a ballot among the bottom four teams to determine the No.1 draft selection.

At the other end of the ladder, more than half opposed a fixture where the top-six teams face off in the final rounds, after every team had played each other once, to determine the top four spots.

Coaching from the boundary line appears to be a necessity at times, rather than a preference, with every coach declaring he prefers to coach from the box. 

The majority support the AFL's Level Four Senior Coach course, with 62.5 per cent saying coaches should be graduates of the program before taking on the top job. 

The survey was conducted in conjunction with the AFL Coaches’ Association. Not all coaches answered every question. The full survey results will be published in the round 20 edition of the AFL Record, which is available at all grounds.

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