UPDATE: West Coast may not have a new coach in place until mid-October following the shock announcement that club legend John Worsfold would not continue, citing the need to take a break from coaching as his reason for resigning yesterday morning.
Worsfold, who was pictured this morning in his West Coast tracksuit, added intrigue by not attending a hastily convened afternoon press conference to confirm his departure.
It is understood that he was picking his children up from school.
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Worsfold's 281-game coaching career netted the 2006 premiership after narrowly missing the 2005 flag. He took the Eagles from the 2010 wooden spoon back into the top four in 2011.
But after finals in 2012, a disappointing 2013 which saw the Eagles miss the top eight gave rise to discontent from fans as time closed in on the finish of Worsfold's coaching contract.
The sudden departure fuelled speculation the Eagles would make a last-minute lunge for Paul Roos. However, the former Sydney coach this morning opted to take the vacant coach's role at Melbourne.
Former Brisbane coach Michael Voss and assistants Peter Sumich (Fremantle) and Scott Burns (West Coast) were mentioned as possible successors, but the Eagles stressed they were yet to start the search.
Worsfold said in a statement that it wasn't right for him to continue if he didn't "have the energy to give it absolutely everything".
"That wouldn't be the right thing for the club and basically that's where it got to," he said.
"It's not the right thing for me or for the club. The players will feel it, the staff will feel it, if the senior coach is not warts and all in.
"And that means emotionally you have to be right in, you have to be all over everything.
"It has been in the back of my mind and I have been convincing myself that at the end of the season there's less intensity, you'll rekindle all the energy, you'll have a break and you'll be up and going again, but I just think it's time now.
"My time is done as coach of this footy club. I couldn't have had a better time, I couldn't have asked for any more. I certainly couldn't have given any more."
Chairman Alan Cransberg insisted that Worsfold had resigned, had come to the decision himself and that the club was yet to speak to any alternatives. But what was clear was the damage that the Eagles' horrific three-week finish to the season had done.
It had rocked Worsfold's unshakeable confidence that he was the man for the job. And it made the club determined to run an exhaustive process before it made a decision on whether he should continue.
Cransberg labelled it a sad day for the club, but neither he nor Nisbett were completely surprised.
"John has been with us for 24 of our 27 years either as a player, as a coach and an absolute legend of this club," Cransberg said.
"John recognised that he didn't have the energy, the passion, the enthusiasm and the emotion to keep going.
"Coaching a football side at AFL level is an outstandingly difficult commitment and he has been doing that with extraordinary success for over 12 years now.
"It is an opportunity for us to build the next part of our future."
Cransberg was adamant that thrashings by Geelong, Collingwood and Adelaide in a horror three-week finish to the season had not determined Worsfold's future. "If you are picking a coach for the next four to five years you don't do it on a three-week interval," Cransberg said.
"He was obviously disappointed in the last three weeks but I don't think it was a factor in his decision. He has had lots of things to think about but we certainly wouldn't make a decision on a coach based on a three-week performance.
"He is a very thoughtful man and a careful man. He made a thoughtful and careful decision which we accepted.
"Were we rattled? I guess it is fair to say we were disappointed by the past three weeks but that had no factor at all in us accepting or not accepting his resignation."
Cransberg also made it clear that the process to decide if Worsfold continued would not have been a rubber-stamping exercise.
"We talked to John right through about his future and the board has a process in place that would have concluded by the middle of September that would have determined the next coach's future or the next coach of this football club," he said.
He claimed the club was yet to speak to prospective replacements, saying it would have been disrespectful to Worsfold."We will put together a process to find our next coach. Frankly we hadn't started that because we hadn't finished our determination on whether John would be the coach for the next couple of years," Cransberg said.