BRENDON Bolton's three-and-a-half-year tenure as Carlton coach came to a merciless end on Monday, one day after the Blues' 39th defeat in 43 matches.
His departure follows Brad Scott's mutual parting of ways with North Melbourne eight days ago, after only one coach – Rodney Eade at Gold Coast in 2017 – exited in the past two seasons.
Highly regarded assistant David Teague will serve as Carlton's caretaker coach for the remainder of season 2019, but attention has already turned to who will be the next long-term option.
AFL.com.au has looked at the leading candidates.
Brad Scott (North Melbourne)
There's every chance Scott's absence from AFL coaching ranks will last barely half a season. Led the Roos to consecutive preliminary final appearances in 2014 and 2015 before coaching his last game there in round 10. Scott ended his near-decade-long stint at Arden Street with 102 wins and 101 losses and still has plenty of admirers. Will be a top – if not the top – contender to replace Bolton and would be in a similar position if any other jobs came up.
Could Brad Scott go straight from Arden Street to Princes Park? Picture: AFL Photos
Scott Burns (Hawthorn)
Has long had the tag of senior coach-in-waiting, and was most recently in the running for the Gold Coast job that went to Stuart Dew and also included John Barker. Was in the mix for the job Adam Simpson won at West Coast, too. Spent five years at the Eagles and four at Collingwood, where he was the Pies' midfield coach and one of Nathan Buckley's closest confidantes, before linking up with the Hawks and Alastair Clarkson last season.
Scott Burns and Nathan Buckley in 2017. Picture: AFL Photos
Matthew Nicks (Greater Western Sydney)
One of the inaugural Level 4 coaching intake, he is Giants coach Leon Cameron's right-hand man in 2019 after eight years at Port Adelaide. Earned a reputation at Alberton as a straight shooter who was equally adept at forming strong relationships with the playing group. His range of experiences there – good, bad and challenging – are viewed as a positive for him, along with his willingness to move to a new club.
Matthew Nicks is well qualified and well respected among coaching ranks. Picture: AFL Photos
Brett Kirk (Sydney)
Regarded as a future senior coach. Kirk, who was in the previous Level 4 coaching batch, played 241 games for Sydney, including the 2005 premiership, and excels as a coach in the way he uses his people skills and intelligence to develop players as individuals and competitors. A source pointed to Malcolm Blight as an example of how "different kinds of people can be successful" as senior coaches.
There's no doubt Brett Kirk would bring something different to Carlton. Picture: AFL Photos
David Teague (Carlton)
Will be the Blues' caretaker coach for the rest of the season and was recently accepted into the exclusive Level 4 coaching program. Played for North Melbourne and Carlton, before becoming a Blues development in charge of the Northern Bullants in 2008. He led the Bullants to a Grand Final in 2009, then won the VFL flag with them a season later. Worked as an assistant at St Kilda, West Coast and Adelaide before returning to Carlton ahead of last season.
Will David Teague be able to impress while in the caretaker position? Picture: AFL Photos
Steven King (Western Bulldogs)
The darkhorse. King's first season at the Kennel was 2012, after he spent a year as St Kilda's ruck and midfield coach. His first five seasons at the Dogs were spent with the midfielders, before he switched to the backline in 2017. Industry sources believe King would make a good senior coach "in the right set of circumstances" and that he has "enormous potential". Started the Level 4 coaching course last year.
Steven King could surprise if given a senior chance. Picture: AFL Photos
Brett Ratten (St Kilda)
Would the Blues bring back the man they fired in 2012, just one season after leading them to a third finals campaign in a row? Would Ratten himself even consider it? Hugely improbable on both fronts. He is earning praise for what he's done since joining the Saints, after departing the Hawks at the end of last season. Ratten was at Hawthorn for its 2013-15 flag three-peat and put together a solid record in six seasons in charge of Carlton (59 wins, one draw, 56 losses).
Would Brett Ratten be interested in a return to Princes Park? Picture: AFL Photos
Adam Kingsley (Richmond)
Blake Caracella (Richmond)
Ben Rutten (Essendon)
Jade Rawlings (Melbourne)
Justin Longmuir (Collingwood)
Dean Solomon (Gold Coast)
Josh Drummond (Gold Coast)
Craig Jennings (Melbourne)
Daniel Giansiracusa (Western Bulldogs)
|2008||Brisbane||Leigh Matthews||End of season||Stepped down||Michael Voss|
|2009||North Melbourne||Dean Laidley||During season||Sacked after four wins, eight losses for season||Darren Crocker (interim)|
|Richmond||Terry Wallace||During season||Sacked after 37 wins, 60 losses, two draws||Jade Rawlings (interim)|
|2010||Essendon||Matthew Knights||End of season||Sacked after 25 wins, 41 losses, one draw||James Hird|
|Geelong||Mark Thompson||End of season||Stepped down||Chris Scott|
|Port Adelaide||Mark Williams||During season||Sacked with a 5-10 record in 2010 after missing finals in 2008-09||Matthew Primus|
|Sydney||Paul Roos||End of season||Pre-planned hand over to John Longmire||John Longmire|
|2011||Adelaide||Neil Craig||During season||Sacked after four wins, 12 losses for season||Mark Bickley (interim)|
|Collingwood||Mick Malthouse||End of season||Pre-planned handover to Nathan Buckley||Nathan Buckley|
|Fremantle||Mark Harvey||End of season||Sacked after missing finals with nine wins, 13 losses for season||Ross Lyon|
|Melbourne||Dean Bailey||During season||Sacked after 22 wins, 59 losses, 2 draws||Todd Viney (interim)|
|St Kilda||Ross Lyon||End of season||Resigned, joined Fremantle as senior coach||Scott Watters|
|Western Bulldogs||Rodney Eade||During season||Sacked after 7 wins, 12 losses for season||Paul Williams (interim)|
|2012||Carlton||Brett Ratten||End of season||Sacked after missing finals in 2012||Mick Malthouse|
|Port Adelaide||Matthew Primus||During season||Sacked after 5 wins, 13 losses for season||Garry Hocking (interim)|
|2013||Brisbane||Michael Voss||During season||8 wins, 11 losses for season||Mark Harvey (interim)|
|Essendon||James Hird||During season||Suspended by AFL with one game remaining in season||Simon Goodwin (interim)|
|Melbourne||Mark Neeld||During season||Sacked after 5 wins, 23 losses||Neil Craig (interim)|
|St Kilda||Scott Watters||End of season||Sacked after 17 wins, 27 losses, no finals||Alan Richardson|
|West Coast||John Worsfold||End of season||Stepped down||Adam Simpson|
|2014||Adelaide||Brenton Sanderson||End of season||Sacked after missing finals in 2013-14||Phil Walsh|
|Essendon||Mark Thompson||End of season||Replaced by James Hird returning from suspension||James Hird|
|Gold Coast||Guy McKenna||End of season||Sacked after 24 wins, 64 losses, no finals||Rodney Eade|
|Western Bulldogs||Brendan McCartney||End of season||Sacked after 20 wins, 46 losses||Luke Beveridge|
|2015||Carlton||Mick Malthouse||During season||Sacked after 1 win, 7 losses for season||John Barker (interim)|
|Essendon||James Hird||During season||Resigned after 5 wins, 14 losses for season||Matthew Egan (interim)|
|2016||Brisbane||Justin Leppitsch||End of season||Sacked after 14 wins, 52 losses||Chris Fagan|
|Melbourne||Paul Roos||End of season||Pre-planned handover to Simon Goodwin||Simon Goodwin|
|2017||Gold Coast||Rodney Eade||During season||Stepped down after board voted not to renew contract||Stuart Dew|
|2019||North Melbourne||Brad Scott||During season||Scott and the club agreed to a mutual parting of ways||Rhyce Shaw (interim)|