West Coast coach John Worsfold has quit.
The 12-year coach and the club parted company today after a week which one club insider described as “the worst in the club’s history".
Worsfold appeared set for a two-year contract extension and appeared to retain strong support from the board pending the outcome of a presentation on his vision for the future.
But it appears that concerns from the club’s executive about the Eagles' bleak three-week finish to the season which included poundings from Geelong, Collingwood and Adelaide had brought the situation to a head.
Lukewarm responses from players about the prospect of Worsfold continuing for a further two years forced discussions with Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett and chairman Alan Cransberg.
“It’s a really important decision for me and for the footy club,” Worsfold said on the club's website.
“I have come to that decision around the fact I shouldn’t do the job if I don’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.
“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.
“I think I could do that, but I don’t want to have that doubt. There are plenty of people out there who are ready for this opportunity. This club will give them a wonderful opportunity.
“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.”
Worsfold had been due to make a presentation to the board to determine his future.
The Eagles had endured a horror season after starting as a pre-season premiership fancy. Injuries and a lack of confidence spread through the team and they missed the eight, finishing with nine wins including just three at Patersons Stadium which had previously been a fortress.
Worsfold, a dual premiership captain, coached the Eagles in 281 games for 149 wins, 130 losses and two draws. He led the team to its 2006 flag and a narrow grand final loss in 2005.
There is no clear successor to Worsfold yet. It is also not clear if he will coach elsewhere or take a break from coaching.
Worsfold's future as coach has been in the spotlight in the past month as the Eagles suffered big losses and finished 13th after being touted as a premiership chance on the back of excellent seasons in 2011 and 2012.
Worsfold's resignation follows the retirements of Andrew Embley, Adam Selwood and Mark Nicoski, and Daniel Kerr's future is also in doubt.
Worsfold was not at the media conference.
Cransberg told reporters Worsfold was “doing things like picking up kids from school, telling parents and telling friends … there were things with a slightly higher priority”.
He said the club would now have to start looking for a coach, something they had not even considered.
Worsfold had been likely to stay for another two years.
Cransberg said Worsfold was in a good frame of mind and believed that he was making the right decision.
“One of the things John wanted to ensure was that he was making the right decision for the football club,” Cransberg said.
He said while Worsfold was disappointed with the end to the season, that was not the basis on which he made his decision.
“He is a careful man, he made a careful decision and we accepted that.”
Cransberg said the players and staff were stunned.
“We had a process in place and John was still going through and doing the reviews and I think it just dawned on him overnight and this morning that now was the right time.”
West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said the constant pressure of an AFL coaching position took its toll.
He said players found out at the same time the media was informed.
They were informed by text but some could not be contacted.
Cransberg said he spoke to the captain and vice-captain.