A NEW year brings fresh hope and the opportunity for AFL coaches to turn over a new leaf.

So with season 2022 on the horizon, what will each coach be resolving to fix in the New Year?


This is the reality, Taylor, and sorry Elliott, and sorry Darcy. This forward line now belongs to Riley Thilthorpe and I’m building the entire game plan around him this year. Oh, and maybe Josh Rachele.

Josh Rachele the day after being drafted by Adelaide on November 25, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

CHRIS FAGAN (Brisbane)

Whatever we did last September, and the two finals series before that, I’m throwing out the window. We have failed dismally at the business end of the last three finals series and it will be an uncomfortable time for all of us if we stuff it up again. Time to try something different.

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan looks on after a loss in the semi-final against the Western Bulldogs on September 4, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


I don’t care how important they are as stakeholders and many times they call, if it’s Jeannie Pratt, Bruce Mathieson and Tom Elliott on the line, I’m not answering the phone.

Michael Voss at a Carlton training session on December 6, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

CRAIG McRAE (Collingwood)

A few more episodes of Law and Order to watch and then I might have some clue as to what the New York justice system has in store for Jordan De Goey. By the way, looking forward to having Justin Leppitsch serving as the Olivia Benson to my Elliott Stabler.

Craig McRae and Brendon Bolton watching on during a Collingwood training session at the Holden Centre on December 6, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

BEN RUTTEN (Essendon)

Time to cancel all social media accounts, which like so many other mod-cons I know take for granted, weren’t invented the last time Essendon won a final.

Ben Rutten looks on during an Essendon training session at The Hangar on November 10, 2021. Picture: Getty Images


Actions speak louder than words. So this year, I’m not booking a holiday in September.

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir addresses his players during round 23, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


I’m doing my bit to dispel the myth that the Geelong footy club is masquerading as an old person’s home. I’m already rocking the beard and the perpetual tan. Would a man-bun be stretching things too far?

STUART DEW (Gold Coast)

I’m not going to panic if I see Caryn Clarkson at a nearby ‘open for inspection’. She just might be up here on holidays.

A disappointed Stuart Dew with his players after round nine, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

LEON CAMERON (Greater Western Sydney)

Yoga, meditation, medication, even prayer. Going to have keep finding something to calm the nerves for the next time Toby Greene transgresses and perhaps again costs us the chance at a flag.

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Toby in trouble? Superstar Giant makes contact with ump

Toby Greene makes contact with umpire Matt Stevic during the three-quarter time break

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Some people have swear jars, but I’m starting a Clarko jar. Every time I hear myself compared to Alastair Clarkson, I’m tipping in a gold coin. Some charity is going to be well-rewarded come the end of the season.

Alastair Clarkson and Sam Mitchell face the media on July 30, 2021. Picture: Screenshot


Whatever worked last year, I’m doing it again this year. And the carrot this time around is a home Grand Final at the MCG. Can’t wait to get back to work!

DAVID NOBLE (North Melbourne)

Going to tell John and my other kids that Dad has a new friend now. His name is Jason, he’s from South Adelaide and he’s going to be coming over for dinner. A lot.

North Melbourne coach David Noble addresses his players during a clash against Adelaide in R23, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

KEN HINKLEY (Port Adelaide)

A bit the same as old mate Fages up in Brissy. I’m mixing things up come finals after losing two home preliminary finals on the trot. Kochie will be on the warpath if there’s a third.

An unimpressed Ken Hinkley during the quarter-time break of the preliminary final between Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval on September 11, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


Must give Alan Joyce a call to find out what he did with Hawthorn in 1991. He squeezed out one more flag with that lot before they really did become too old and too slow.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick looks dejected after a loss during round six, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


My list of guest motivational speakers for the boys will be the best yet. John Bertrand, Theo Epstein from the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and someone from Gough Whitlam’s 1972 campaign. Anyone notice a theme here?

Brett Ratten shows that he's still got it during a St Kilda media opportunity at RSEA Park on December 1, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


Kick it to the ‘Bud’ has always been a big part of our game plan, but I’m making it even more so at the start of next season. #Buddy1000 is going to be insane, so let’s get the five goals in round one and get the circus over and done with quickly so we can get on with, you know, the rest of the season.

Sydney coach John Longmire (left) and player Lance Franklin celebrate after a win during round 17, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


Need to keep a suitcase and a few changes of clothes at the footy club when the season gets closer. Might have to beat a hasty, COVID-related retreat from the state at very short notice this year.

LUKE BEVERIDGE (Western Bulldogs)

The Melbourne past players WhatsApp group is very active and has now reached near-mythical status. I should know because I’m a member. But it’s no fun for me. I’m leaving it on mute until at least March 17.

Luke Beveridge and Marcus Bontempelli leave the field after the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium on September 25, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos