Bassat struggled with the fact his instincts were telling him he might have to make a change he didn’t like to make given the board had only extended the coach’s contract by two years in July, a move that can now be seen as a symptom of the underlying. problems.
He triangulated the data, heard the incumbent who couldn’t convince him he was the Saints’ next premiership coach, then with a heavy heart made the call he thought was in the best interest of the club. It hurt Ratten in a way only he can describe and also hurt the president who knew a good man when he saw one in the coach.
If Bassat made the decision so late, it was because, overall, not enough had been dealt with earlier. Early wins masked problems, the sugar shots of business acquisitions fueled the energy before eventual realities saw blame shifted elsewhere, to midfield, or the sale of home games, or to players who hadn’t played as hoped, towards goal kicks or towards fitness.
Despite the scrutiny and new team involved, the residual damage from this inaction followed by heavy-handed calls can be dangerous, which is why the appointment of the sometimes gruff, but always blunt and fair Geoff Walsh as football manager is essential.
The board won’t die wondering what’s going on in the football department, and they won’t have any doubts as to what they think of their questions, for better or for worse. This will suit Bassat and new coach Ross Lyon.
Lyon has brought together a group that knows how to drive performance and growth. He feels ready to delegate to Lenny Hayes, Robert Harvey, Brendon Goddard, Dave Misson and those who stayed, including Corey Enright in team defense, David Rath in strategy and Damian Carroll in development. The roles of Jarryd Roughead and Graeme Allan will need to be defined.
Despite the shock and disappointment over the Ratten decision, most footballers believe Saints will improve, at least in the short term, as Lyon embark on what he described on 3AW as a simple model that relies on solid planning and hard work.
“We have to identify what kind of team and individuals we want to be and what action will get us there and commit to that action until you get what you want,” Lyon said.
The challenge for the coach and those around him will be to resist enacting the same sometimes crazy routines that brought them closer to the flag in 2009 and 2010 but ultimately left them without a Premier Cup and in the decade that followed, as Walsh so eloquently put it, irrelevant.
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