Good news for us suffering Hawthorn supporters
NO ONE can blame Hawthorn for salivating after Leigh Matthews spoke to Mike Sheahan in April, 2002.
Asked if he would like to coach Hawthorn, Matthews admitted it would be "a romantic finish to the cycle".
Since then Matthews has extended his contract at the Brisbane Lions - he is tied to the club until the end of 2004 - but it seems his words hang in the air at Glenferrie Oval like some prophecy.
No one knows if Matthews will return to Hawthorn, save for the man himself, but there's no doubt a group of influential Hawks is waiting for it to happen.
And that is why Hawthorn will seriously consider appointing a one-year interim coach in 2004 with a view to securing Matthews for 2005.
And that is why Dermott Brereton and Jason Dunstall suddenly loom as wildcards to replace coach Peter Schwab at the end of the season.
We're not writing epitaphs just yet, but not even "Schwabby" would rate his chances of pulling on the coaching boots for a fourth season.
And this is where it becomes complicated.
The Hawks want Matthews, they will need a new coach at the end of the season, but they can't offer it to say Terry Wallace, Rodney Eade or Mark Harvey because none of them would take it for just one year.
Remember, also, this isn't a football club that looks outside the square when it comes to coaches. Since 1960, when John Kennedy took the helm, only one coach - Allan Jeans - was not a Hawthorn person.
In order, there's been Kennedy, Graham Arthur, Peter O'Donohue, David Parkin, Jeans, Alan Joyce, Peter Knights, Ken Judge and now Schwab. So it's reasonable to suggest the Hawks will again look within as they sweat on Matthews.
Brereton and Dunstall are the obvious candidates ahead of assistants Gavin Crosisca, Donald McDonald and Tony Liberatore.
Dunstall added fuel for thought over the weekend when he admitted he'd love to coach the Hawks. Mind you, Dunstall, who recently was appointed to the coaching sub-committee, said he'd also be happy to be the cleaner if the club asked him.
As strange as it sounds, this could boil down to Brereton v Dunstall situation. Both haven't coached at AFL level, but both can offer plenty to their old football club.
They don't lack the necessary confidence to coach, both are highly respected, and with that comes authority.
In Brereton's case, he also carries a pizzazz factor that incorporates charisma, aura and fear. However, Brereton has more hurdles to overcome than Dunstall.
At 38, Dermie still carries the "Kid" tag. He loves his expansive social life, close friends joke about his use of time and he tears about town on a Harley Davidson.
That doesn't make him a bad prospective coach, but it is an image that may make more conservative Hawks shake their heads.
Brereton also would have to be aware of the Grant Thomas affair. As a football director, as was Thomas, Brereton would have to play a role in the sacking of Schwab and his own appointment. That could become messy no matter how well it is orchestrated. Just ask Thomas.
Dunstall, of course, has a lower profile, but like Brereton, would love to test himself in football's toughest job.
At the moment, both are hugely supportive of Schwab, but know D-day is looming.
Imagine it. Dermie v Dunstall. Talk about romance.
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