I CAN confirm that the Club has today finalised the key outcomes of an independent football department review.

As part of this process, external panel members Geoff Walsh, Graham Lowe and Matthew Pavlich last week delivered a final report to myself, the Club’s Board of Directors, and CEO Cain Liddle, which was shared with leaders of the football department this week.

Following this consultation process, the Club was able to complete its thorough and extensive review process that has been underpinned by one objective – the improvement of the Club’s on-field performance to take the football department forward.

We are now able to confirm that after taking sufficient time to process the information from the review, the decision has been made to part ways with Senior Coach David Teague, while assistant coach Dale Amos has also been informed he will not be offered a new contract.

Decisions relating to the football department review

We understand our members and supporters expect more from our on-field performance and expect us to consistently win games of football. There is no hiding from the fact that to date, we have fallen short of that expectation, based on the fact our performances have plateaued over the last two seasons from a win-loss perspective.

As a result, the Board instigated an external review of the Club’s football department. The review was to explore all aspects of the football department including the performance of management, coaching staff and players. The aim was to identify barriers to on-field success and to develop recommendations to help create the foundations for future success.

After reviewing and considering the findings, following the conclusion of our season we provided the opportunity for our senior leaders within the football department to provide feedback on the contents of the review. Having met today it was made clear that in order for us to achieve our objective, changes to the coaching personnel were required, including the Senior Coach position.

The review has found that while the coaching group had the expertise required, it had been unable to have an effective impact on a playing group that is required to deliver results at the elite level.

It was identified that there had been confusion associated with the game plan at times and on-field, the team has underdelivered in its ability to consistently defend, win the contest and apply pressure.

This was highlighted, but not limited to, an overt, consistent focus on offence at a detriment to the defensive side of the game.

While the easier option would have been to wait a further 12 months in the hope these deficiencies would change, the in-depth data gained over a significant period of time as part of this review process left no doubt that such an option would not be in the best interests of the Club. As such, it would have been irresponsible to ignore the decisions that had to be made.

These decisions are incredibly difficult to make, and while we understand some will not agree with them, we entered this process knowing that if we refuse to act on decisions solely because they were difficult, we would be ignoring our responsibility to the Club, our members and our supporters.

There can be absolutely no denying that David Teague gave everything as Senior Coach of our football club. He demonstrated care and commitment on a consistent basis, and he never wavered from wanting to make the Carlton Football Club a better place.

While that has not translated into the on-field results we had hoped, we are certainly better for having David as an integral part of our football club for the last four years, two of which were as our Senior Coach.

We also extend our sincere thanks to Dale Amos, who departs the Club having dedicated enormous time and energy to making us a better football club, much of which happened without public recognition but was no doubt appreciated by all those he worked alongside.

Key findings of the review

In general, the independent panel found the football department to be well managed and with a good focus on people and processes. The review panel identified specific opportunities for the football department to improve and support a higher level of on-field performance.

In summary, the review panel also found:

  • Whilst management and staff were found to be capable and committed to the success of Carlton Football Club, and demonstrating a positive mindset, there is a requirement for stronger leadership, more experienced coaching, and improvements in player development.
  • There has been confusion associated with the game plan at times and on-field, the team has underdelivered in its ability to consistently defend, win the contest and apply pressure.
  • There is a high level of expertise in the high-performance area, however opportunity exists to clearly define roles and responsibilities.
  • Good list management processes are now in place, including detailed analysis undertaken to support list management and recruitment decisions.
  • The Club has excellent facilities which reflects the ambition to compete against the best performing teams in the AFL.
  • We were pleased that the final report delivered by the external panel outlined a number of areas our football department had been performing strongly, relating to areas of football strategy, list management, systems and operations, with quality people committed to what they’re doing.

The review has been incredibly helpful for management and the Board to gain external expertise, critical opinion of our program and how we can improve ourselves to achieve on-field success going forward.

Our Board and CEO Cain Liddle will now work with Head of Football Brad Lloyd and the key leaders of our football department to deliver the key areas of improvement I have detailed for you in the summary above.

It is now the responsibility of everyone in our football department, players, coaches and staff, as well as the Board, to make these necessary improvements in order to ensure the Carlton Football Club remains focused on achieving our ultimate, long-term goal – winning premierships. 

Going forward, our priority is now the recruitment of a new Senior Coach. Further details will be communicated in due course.

Four new Directors join the Board

As we look to the future, I’m pleased to inform you that there are also significant changes we are making as a Board.

As you’d be aware, following a successful transition and succession plan, Mark LoGiudice has concluded his tenure on the Board after 12 years, eight of those as President.

I also wanted to inform you that Jeanne Pratt, Chris Judd and Christopher Townshend have made the decision to retire from their Director positions.

Jeanne concludes her long and dedicated service to the football club which dates back to 2011 as a Director. I’m sure most Carlton people will also appreciate her contribution over the many years prior, including alongside her late husband Richard, who answered the call to serve as President during an incredibly difficult time from 2007 – 2008. Jeanne will continue to be recognised as an official club patron moving forward.

Chris Judd joined the Board in 2017, serving as Director of Football following his 14-year playing career and we thank him for his long service to the football club. I also want to acknowledge Christopher Townshend, who has been instrumental in setting the Club up for the successful completion of the most significant redevelopment of IKON Park in its proud history. Chris leaves the Board on the basis that the Masterplan strategy and approval process has now reached a stage where he is confident its completion can be overseen in his role as chair of the Infrastructure sub committee.

We are certainly grateful to Mark, Jeanne, Chris Judd and Christopher Townshend for their contributions to the Club and we thank them for their service.

Now, we look forward to commencing a reset of the Board of our football club, with a single-minded focus towards our on-field performance.

With change to now take place in four of the eight Director positions as a result of the casual vacancies created, this provides us with a unique opportunity to add to our existing skills-based Board and inject fresh viewpoints and diverse ways of thinking, which will  benefit our entire football club moving forward.

In line with the Club’s constitution, the Board is charged with appointing new Directors. After a thorough and considered process and in line with the constitutional process in place to ensure there is appropriate succession planning and renewal of the Board based on the skills required at the time, the Independent Nominations Committee (INC) has recommended that the Board appoint four suitability qualified persons to be Directors of the Club and I am now in a position to share these appointments with you today.

The first is someone known to every Carlton person, with 1995 Premiership player, Norm Smith Medallist and dual Brownlow Medallist Greg Williams making a commitment to return to the Club and fill the role of Director of Football. A hard, uncompromising footballer, Williams played 250 games, 109 of those in the Navy Blue guernsey. As well as earning a decorated career during arguably football’s toughest era, Williams also spent time as part of the Club’s coaching staff as a skills coach until early 2020. He has a firm belief of what is required to return the Blues to a successful football club once again and will help drive the standards required to get there.

Tim Lincoln brings a wealth of data and analytics experience, having co-founded Lincoln Indicators 30 years ago, which has now grown into one of Australia’s leading experts in actively managed investment funds. Tim has been a Blues supporter, sponsor and member for over 50 years. By joining the Carlton board, Tim’s goal is to collaboratively guide the Club to create competitive advantages by applying his data analysis to significantly enhance decision making processes and improve the probability of successful outcomes, provide meaningful insights and introduce strong accountability metrics. 

Lahra Carey joins the Board as an experienced communications strategist. She has provided Australia’s blue-chip companies, best known brands, not-for-profit organisations and government departments with strategic corporate communications. She uses her experience and knowledge to leverage leadership positioning on behalf of the organisations she works with. She is the founder and co-principal of PR consultancy narrative, as well as NewsFlash Media, which develops and delivers purpose-built media and presentation training programs for senior executives and other key staff.

Robert Priestley is currently the Chairman of J.P. Morgan Australia & New Zealand. He has over 35 years of experience in the Financial Services industry, working in senior management roles across Australia & New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific regions. His strengths include leadership, culture and the alignment of stakeholder interests through strong communication and partnership, which has enabled him to be a key driver in growing and developing businesses and will lead the Club’s growth in this space including the Sydney market.

We thank Greg, Tim, Lahra and Robert, all life-long Carlton supporters and members, for showing a commitment to come forward with demonstrated expertise and unique skillsets in order to help make the Carlton Football Club a more successful organisation both on and off the field.

This is an important time to reset our football club, and we as the Board are fully committed to help drive that by leading by example.

Our AFL and AFLW playing groups are now well placed to pursue on-field success in the coming seasons, supported by our incredibly strong off-field position that is underpinned by new facilities and sustainable revenue streams.

Our refreshed board will bring with it a new way of thinking, underlined by a clear focus of our responsibility to you, our members.