The AFL Matchmaker: 18 Coaches, 18 New Jobs

Needless to say, it’s been a deplorable year so far. 

Actually, if 2020 was a footy match, it’d be early in the second quarter and your team would be down 89-4. 

This virus is affecting everyone the world over, with the AFL’s 18 head coaches not immune to the present upheaval. 

Like so many across Australia, coming to grips with a winter without football isn’t easy, while coaches too have had to take pay cuts and even contemplate career changes entirely. 

Which is where we come in. 

Today, we’re taking a step back from the numbers and the graphs and the analysis and will instead play the role of 'Career Counsellor' to find new jobs for this albeit small workforce.

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Luke Beveridge - Retail Assistant: Surf, Dive 'n' Ski

The last two industries Bulldogs’ coach Luke Beveridge has served in have been coaching and counter terrorism. They’ve both been highly stressful jobs. One earned him a premiership and a permanent place in every Bulldog fan’s heart. The other made him better at Excel than most ever will.

Keeping in mind the associated stress of both roles, we’ve decided to give ‘Bevo’ a bit of a break, handing him a gig as a Retail Assistant at Surf, Dive 'n' Ski.

‘Can I have a quick word, Luke?’

‘Course Chief. What’s up?’

‘You’ve still got your flippers on, mate’.

Nathan Buckley - Family Therapist

‘Bucks’ has seen a lot go down as Pie’s coach. His star forward keeps getting bitten by his dog. Another young gun was unaware he was not allowed to gamble on football matches, let alone games involving his own team. Even before he became Pies’ coach, Nathan Buckley not only had to play with the ‘Rat pack’, but he’s also had to serve under both Mick Malthouse and Eddie McGuire.

Throughout all the trials and tribulations at Collingwood, Buckley’s remained a dignified figure. He continually presents as a sensitive, patient, good humoured modern man. Which is why we’ve transitioned him into a Family Therapist.

Leon Cameron - Dairy Farmer

Despite more than 30 years playing and coaching in metropolitan Melbourne and Sydney, Leon Cameron still sounds as though he’s just stepped out of 1957 Australia. Leon needs to reconnect with an apparently simpler time and environment. One where he can be outside and amongst nature. Somewhere he can amble back to the house after a long day, maybe have a cup of tea on the back porch and look on as the sun sets over those rolling green hills.

‘Leon, Love. Come inside. Sale of the Century is about to start’. 

‘Be there in a tick, Darl’.

Alastair Clarkson - Board Game Creator

Alastair Clarkson needs to be busy. And it’s best for both him and the community at large if this is the case. So we think it’d be ideal if ‘Clarko’ stays home and works on his tile based, table-top board game.

‘What’s this piece do, Dad?’

‘For god’s sake don’t touch it. That meeple is going to be used as a portal conductor to unlock the Farkazian Galaxy which will be governed by... Actually just get the hell out of here, okay? Let me know when dinner’s ready’.

‘Dad is that a hole in the wall?’

ALSO READ: The Tactical Evolution of AFL

Stuart Dew - Rental Car Business

Stuart Dew took over from Rodney Eade who’s lasting memory of coaching the hapless Suns was holding a giant fish in a very odd photo shoot. While Dew’s record as coach is nothing to write home about either, he’s continued to work hard in spite of a worrisome playing list. It’s been an incredibly difficult two and half years for Dew in SE Queensland, so we decided he could do with a change of pace, which is why we’ve got him running a small car rental business in Logan.

‘Hey Stu, could you give us a hand with this child seat.’

‘What’s the problem?’

‘Won’t lock’.

‘Did you make sure all the the tie-down points are fastened?’


‘Then I give up.’

Chris Fagan - BBQ Sales Assistant: Ray’s Outdoors

At nearly 59 years old, Chris Fagan is the league’s oldest coach. At this stage, he’s likely not wanting a complete career transition, nor a full time gig, so we thought three days a week selling barbecues would suit him well.

‘Is Fages in today?’

‘Yeah I’ll grab him.... Fages!’


‘Some bloke on the phone wants to know if we’re still selling the Fire Magic Echelon Diamond Propane Gas Grill?’


Simon Godwin - Courier

Simon Goodwin is often wearing the expression of a man that looks like he’s just been told his stolen car has been recovered, but that it’s been burnt out and is neither recognisable, nor salvageable. We want to give Simon a little bit of a break, so we’ve found him a gig as a courier.

‘And just sign here please’.

‘Wait. Hang on. I ordered a giraffe, mate’.

‘Huh? What?’

‘Just joking’.


RELATED: AFL | Stats That Matter - The 'Hard Ball'

Damien Hardwick - With Danielle, Co-Owns a Home Decor Store in the Dandenong Ranges

Sometimes he zooms with Alastair and helps with his mentor’s game, but mostly Damien keeps busy with he and his wife’s small boutique.

‘Dame, could you come here for a sec?’

‘What’s up?’

‘Jill left this mailbox of hers off and was hoping you’d be able to woodburn her family history on it?’

‘Did she say woodburn or zedtangle?’

‘Definitely woodburn?’

‘I’ll just give her a buzz to make sure’.

Ken Hinkley - Owner/Operator of Ken’s Milks

Not only has Ken Hinkley had a multitude of assistant coaching gigs, but he’s also had to serve under ‘Kochie’ as head coach at Port, so we imagine transitioning to another job shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Which is why Ken was very quickly able to establish ‘Ken’s Milk’ which delivers flavoured milk throughout South Australia.

‘Hey Ken. I ordered four cartons of iced coffee and one of chocolate. You’ve got four chocolate and one iced coffee’.

‘Bugger! Must have been a mix up somewhere. I’ll grab the invoice’.

John Longmire - Funeral Director

It’s hard not to like ‘Horse’. He’s been one of our sport’s most underrated champs for nearly thirty years transitioning from a Coleman medalist/premiership player to a brilliant assistant and now premiership coach in his own right. And he’s done all of that with class and seemingly very little ego. His new job as a Funeral Director suits his compassionate side and caters to his excellent organisational skills.

‘That was a very beautiful service’.

‘You’re very welcome’.

Justin Longmuir - Junior Real Estate Agent

‘Where’s Ross?’

‘Didn’t you hear? He got the flick’.

‘Wow. Well, that probably explains the tall guy who’s been walking around. What’s his name?’

‘Julian. I mean Jason. His name’s Jared’.

Matthew Nicks - Stay at Home Dad

If you weren’t quite sure who Matthew Nicks is, he’s the current coach of the Adelaide Crows, while he also played 175 games for the Sydney Swans. Something else you mightn’t know about Matthew is that he’s got three kids under the age of five, so we’ve decided to grant him every dad’s dream and allow him to stay home with them throughout the duration of the lockdown. You can thank us later, Matthew.

ALSO READ: The Changing Face of the AFL Forward

Brett Ratten - Assistant Groundskeeper

There might not be a more positive person in the AFL than ‘Ratts’ and genuine credit should go to the Saints for giving him a second chance at being a Head Honcho. We also understand how hard it’s going to be keeping him away from Moorabbin so we’re giving him the role of assistant groundskeeper.

‘What fertiliser are you using, Les?’

‘Huh? I don’t know, Ratts. We’re not using fertiliser’.

‘But if you were, what do you reckon you’d use?

‘Look we might go with a…..’

‘Actually I’m going to have another go on the turf cutter…..Actually I’m going to do another Bunnings run’.

Chris Scott - Declined to participate

Sometimes when you look over at the Geelong coaching box the world can seem a cruel and unfair place. Which makes you wonder how Chris Scott is handling the world’s current crisis. With that said, Chris has let us know he will not be participating in our Job Exchange program.

Adam Simpson - Aged Care Worker 

Adam Simpson was a premiership player with North Melbourne who’s transitioned into a brilliant, premiership coach with the Eagles. He’s also one of the AFL’s most respected and gentle figures and one we could absolutely see thriving as an Aged Care worker.


‘Yes, Sylvia?’

‘This might sound like a stupid question…’

‘There’s no such thing as a stupid question’.

‘Is it movie night tonight?’

‘That was last night’.

‘Oh. I see. What did we watch?’

‘Dances With Wolves’.

Rhyce Shaw - In-House Support Worker

One of the largest associated problems with the country’s current lockdown is the mental health implications, especially among young men. Which is where the Shaw family comes in, and particularly in regards to Heath. Despite Rhyce Rhyce’s objections we think it would be best if he move in with his brother during this vulnerable time.

‘Hi Rhyce. Just checking to see if everything’s going well with you and Heath?’

‘No it’s not. Right now he’s on the roof piffing things into the neighbour’s back yard’.

‘That’s great Rhyce. Thank you. Sounds like you’ve got everything under control there’.

David Teague - Assistant Zoo Keeper 

When David Teague replaced Brendon Bolton as caretaker coach at Carlton, few thought he’d ever end up with the gig on a permanent basis. Yet, here we are 12 months later and Teague is coaching (well sort of) one of the most storied clubs in the sport.

While Teague has found it excruciatingly hard being ripped away from his unexpected role, we’ve found a job for him close to Princess Park as an Assistant Zoo Keeper at the Melbourne Zoo.

‘Dave mate get off your phone. What are you even doing? I’ve got four pumas in there who aren’t gonna to feed themselves’.

‘Sorry mate. I was just checking to see if they were ready to start the footy again’.

John Worsfold - Uber

John Worsfold’s career in football has been both glittering and cased in controversy. He won flags as both a player and a coach with West Coast, however a veritable drug emporium thrived underneath his nose. Years later he took over at Essendon in the wake of the Bombers being embroiled in the biggest dogs scandal in Australian sporting history, so we’re thinking a career change has actually arrived at a perfect time.

While yes, we understand Worsfold is a qualified pharmacist (we’re also aware Scott Pendlebury played basketball), we also know John will likely want a break from all things pharmaceutical so we’ve signed him up to drive cars for Uber. A different head space and some good chats could do a world of good as he contemplates life without footy for he first time in many decades.

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James Rosewarne

James is a writer and Managing Editor at Stats Insider. He likes fiction and music. He is a stingray attack survivor. He lives in Wollongong.

Email- for story ideas or opportunities.

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