No happy Valen­tine as Mon­aghan knifed

Joondalup Times - - SPORT - Justin Bian­chini

IN­COM­ING West Perth coach Ge­off Valen­tine has more in com­mon with his pre­de­ces­sor Bill Mon­aghan than play­ing in the 1995 WAFL grand fi­nal, al­beit on op­po­site sides.

He starts his WAFL se­nior coach­ing ca­reer at the Fal­cons, the same club that gave Mon­aghan his chance 10 years ago.

Valen­tine, who played 37 games with West Perth in­clud­ing the ’95 premier­ship, comes with much prom­ise and ex­cite­ment.

But his ap­point­ment has been over­shad­owed by the club’s treat­ment of 2013 premier­ship coach Mon­aghan.

Mon­aghan’s de­par­ture after 10 years, seven fi­nals cam­paigns and three grand fi­nals, has raised more ques­tions than an­swers.

When long-time coaches in the AFL are get­ting ex­ten­sions, why wasn’t he af­forded a chance to coach on after ask­ing for a new con­tract?

Telling Mon­aghan he wasn’t wanted just days after get­ting West Perth to a grand fi­nal, was that any way to re­pay a coach?

Not telling him the pre­vi­ous board was sup­pos­edly seek­ing an­other coach, was that the way to thank some­one who kept the play­ers fo­cused while the club went into ad­min­is­tra­tion with a $790,000 debt be­fore a deal to pay cred­i­tors a shame­ful 4c in the dol­lar?

Footy clubs and busi­nesses can be ruth­less places, but given the club’s re­cent fi­nan­cial woes, wasn’t this a chance – es­pe­cially for the new board – to show trans­parency, con­duct a re­view of the foot­ball de­part­ment and ex­press why a new coach was be­ing sought long be­fore part­ing ways with Mon­aghan and say­ing the board was look­ing for a “new style” of coach­ing.

The vol­un­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der for­mer pres­i­dent Scott Ballem – which an­gered stal­warts of the club such as for­mer pres­i­dent Colin Rock­man – and sub­se­quent treat­ment of Mon­aghan has tainted the club and made it a tough en­try for Valen­tine, who now, like new pres­i­dent Neale Fong, will have to unite the club, un­der pres­sure to get back to fi­nals.

Not that it has been skin off Mon­aghan’s nose, who has con­ducted him­self through­out the whole or­deal with dig­nity and re­fused to be drawn into me­dia com­ment while ac­cept­ing the va­cant coach­ing job at East Fre­man­tle.

He prob­a­bly sensed a few in the club – it’s been re­ported the foot­ball di­rec­tor was in­stru­men­tal in Mon­aghan’s re­moval and that re­la­tions were strained with the foot­ball op­er­a­tions man­ager – may have been ag­i­tat­ing against him when a new con­tract was not pre­sented in the lead-up to the fi­nals.

His­tory will show Mon­aghan, the long­est-serv­ing coach at West Perth, as a le­gend of the club. He de­served a bet­ter send-off.

Don’t be sur­prised if he’s ap­plauded by Fal­cons sup­port­ers in the Whin­nen Dempsey stand when he re­turns to Joon­dalup Arena in charge of the Sharks next sea­son.

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