Perth’s patience with coach Damien McMahon ran out last night when he was sacked, assistant Trevor Williams to take the reins for the rest of the season.
Pressure had been mounting on McMahon in recent weeks after a string of disappointing defeats, the Demons dropping nine of their last 10 games after opening the season in promising fashion with wins against Claremont and South Fremantle.
Chief executive officer Marty Atkins said axing McMahon had been difficult but in the best interests of Perth.
“It’s a tough decision but you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” Atkins said last night.
“We are getting smashed at the moment because we are not doing anything about the negative results.
“On the other side of the fence the club didn’t want to be seen as not standing by the man they appointed at the start of the year.
“We decided to do what’s best for the football club and that’s look to next year and that’s the way we are going to go forward.”
Atkins said a unanimous decision not to extend McMahon’s contract had been made at a board meeting last week.
“With that being considered, we wanted to get a head-start on every other club, get out and start canvassing for coaches,” he said.
“We decided we didn’t want to do that behind Damien’s back so we were going to let him know. We thought the best thing going forward would be to relieve him of his duties.
Atkins said McMahon had been a dedicated servant of the Demons in his time at the club.
“During the last seven years as coach of both the colts and league teams, Damien has totally committed himself to the Perth Football Club.
“He is disappointed that the club has not been able to achieve greater success during his time as coach.”
McMahon had been given a benchmark of 10 wins – the same as last year – to have his contract extended into a fifth season.
He had agreed to an option for 2015, but required the club’s consent to activate it.
McMahon guided the Demons to 28 wins and 44 losses, the most recent a disappointing 19-point defeat against Peel at Bendigo Bank Stadium last Saturday.
Williams, who coached the Thunder from 2010 to 2012, will take the reins for the rest of 2014 but won’t be a candidate for next year and beyond.
Atkins said Williams, the most experienced of the club’s assistants, would work on an agenda of “which players wanted to be at the club and which didn’t.”
Last quarter fade-outs in several of Perth’s losses in 2014 had raised questions about the team’s fitness, tactical approach and resolve under pressure.
McMahon was Perth’s 13th coach since Ken Armstrong took the club to their seventh and most recent flag in 1977.
Atkins said there were a number of contenders to replace McMahon including WAFL premiership coaches Scott Watters, Peter German, Darren Harris and Tony Micale, recently-retired West Coast captain Darren Glass, Subiaco colts coach Steven Armstrong and former Fremantle assistant Todd Curley.
“There are that many coaches around at the moment, it would be remiss of us not to cast the net wide.”