The West

Demons consider new coach
Demons consider new coach

Perth are building a war chest to attract the best State league coach in the country next year if Damien McMahon does not survive beyond this season.

Dual WAFL premiership winners Peter German and Scott Watters, and West Perth's flag-winning captain and coach Darren Harris, are likely to be on Perth's radar if the club's finals drought extends to a record 17th year.

McMahon has been given a benchmark of 10 wins - the same as last year - to have his contract extended into a fifth season.

The Demons have won just three matches this season and sit sixth on the WAFL ladder.

A loss to East Perth at Lathlain Park today would leave Perth with the near-impossible task of winning at least eight of their last 10 games to play finals for the first time since 1997.

While Perth president Vince Pendal and chief executive Marty Atkins insisted McMahon would see out the season, the club is understood to be weighing up its future coaching structure.

"We will get through this year before we worry about next year," Pendal said.

But Perth sources confirmed the club's strong financial position meant money was available to recruit the best possible coach next year.

German is in charge of VFL team Coburg, while Watters was sacked late last year after two years as St Kilda coach. Both coaches steered Subiaco to successes last decade.

Harris has heavy work commitments with leadership consultant Leading Teams, but is interested in coaching again after roles as an assistant at West Coast and Carlton.

McMahon agreed to an option for next year, but requires the club's consent to activate it.

"At the end of the year he can pull out or we can pull out," Atkins said. "You don't have to be Einstein to work out that something has to happen at Perth."

Last quarter fade-outs against Swan Districts (twice), West Perth and East Fremantle have raised questions about the team's fitness, tactical approach and resolve under pressure.

Perth have the toughest run home of any team with another match against top team Swan Districts, two against East Perth (second) and two away games against Subiaco (third).

McMahon is Perth's 13th coach since Ken Armstrong took the Demons to their seventh and most recent flag in 1977.

Perth have dropped State forward Brennan Stack for the second time this season, while defender Jared Risol joined a growing casualty list after breaking a finger last week.

Cale Morton will return and Joel Houghton will play his first league match since Easter.

Former St Kilda midfielder Tom Ledger could not force his way back into the winning Claremont combination that will host West Perth without State ruckman Chris Keunen, who may miss several matches after being poked in an eye against East Perth, and veteran Matt Guadagnin (corked thigh).

Subiaco wingman Shaun Hildebrandt will bolster the Lions against an unchanged Swans outfit, while Dockers big man Scott Gumbleton will play his first match since the NAB Challenge when Peel travel to East Fremantle.

The West Australian

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