There has been a lot of weirdness between St Kilda and Fremantle since the Western Australian team’s inception into the AFL sixteen years ago. Sirengate at Launceston, Justin Longmuir’s game winning goal after the siren, the recruitment of Gavin Mitchell and Mark Gale to Moorabbin. So I’m pleased to say that former inaugural vice-captain of the Dockers Scott Watters is not very weird. In fact, the only thing seemingly weird about Scott is that his coaching record is not being trumpeted more loudly to the football community.
He ticks a lot of the boxes that young, AFL untested coaches seem to have to tick these days in order to get a fully-fledged position.
Coached a team in a his own right? Tick!
The former number 5 1988 pre-draft selection coached Subiaco in the WAFL for three seasons. Those three seasons delivered back-to-back premierships (2007/2008) and a runner-up finish (2009), if you don’t mind! That was after Mr.Watters had coached the Subiaco colts team in 2006.
Coached as an AFL Assistant? Tick!
Mick Malthouse brought said coach quick-smart to Collingwood for the 2010 season, where he would also sit alongside Nathan Buckley and Mark Neeld amongst the expansive Magpies coaching squad. Obviously, it goes without saying that the Pies have become the league’s benchmark, and like all Malthouse’s teams they are seriously well-drilled. Watters remained at the Pies for the current 2011, and is regarded as an astute tactician.
Been at a successful club during his coaching apprenticeship? Tick!
Naturally, assistant coaches who are involved in highly successful teams are often the ones who receive the plaudits and are able to muster a more significant profile. You only have to look at the appointments made over the last week to acknowledge this: Mark Neeld (former Collingwood assistant), Brenton Sanderson (Geelong), and Brendan McCartney (Geelong, Essendon) have all built their reputations by working at highly successful clubs. I’m certain that Watters would have relished working with perhaps the most credentialed coach of them all (Mick Malthouse) as well as Neeld, Buckley, McCrae and so on.
As well as the experience he has had at the Pies, the fact that he has coached in his own right so successfully make Watters’s CV doubly strong. These days assistant coaches are given increasingly more responsibility in regards to tactics, the line they’re in charge of, team selection and so on. But at the end of the day, there is nothing that compares to being in the hot seat itself – this is why question marks still linger as to how good a coach Nathan Buckley will actually be. So for Watters’s to be able to point to his successful tenure at Subiaco holds him in very good stead for the Saints coaching job and future coaching applications (if it comes to that).
Love them or hate them, there is no denying that Collingwood tactically have had the competition’s measure for this year and most of last year. They have taken the forward press to a new level, their zoning-off in defence is top notch, their ball use going into the forward fifty is sublime. Hence, to poach a coach that has been immersed in those structures obviously would have an upside.
At the minute it is all hearsay as to where Scott ranks amongst the other young untested AFL coaches seeking the St Kilda job. Also, it seems that the candidate’s ability to convey a vision for the club he is trying to woo is a big factor in winning the approval of the relevant selection committee for these coaching positions. That aspect of Watters’s coaching is one we do not know about. But what I do know about his coaching so far is pretty impressive.