The Richmond Question: What are you afraid of Caro?

By Andrew Gigacz


Caroline Wilson’s call for Kevin Sheedy to remove himself from the running for the Richmond coaching job (The Age, 8th July, 2009) highlights a number of issues. Firstly, Wilson suggests that Sheedy’s decision to put his hand up for the job is potentially divisive to the club. If that is so, then Richmond is a long way from resolving its off-field problems. A strong club with quality leadership should be able to cope with a simple job application from a candidate, regardless of who they are. If the Tigers adopt a process of due diligence, as they say they will, and Sheedy does not fit the requirements, then such a fact will be revealed as part of that very process. If Sheedy was to formally apply for the role and Richmond did not consider the application, the club would be guilty of not displaying the due process that they profess to be embracing.


Secondly, Wilson states that Sheedy, if he applies for the role, will not be successful while the current board remains. Why? Presumably Wilson’s belief of that to be a fact is based on knowledge obtained from a source within the club. Should that be the case then the board would be guilty already of failing to follow process. Asking for Kevin not to submit the application is asking him not to expose the flaws within the club. I would have thought Caroline Wilson, who wears her Tiger heart on her sleeve, would want these flaws to be exposed so they can be dealt with once and for all.


Finally, the Age’s headline (“Out of date”) suggests that one of the reasons Sheedy will not be considered for the job is because he is too old. Sheedy is 61 years old. The retirement age in Australia is currently 65 and is soon to be lifted to 67. I wonder how this selection criterion would stand up to the rigours of the 2004 Australian Discrimination Act.


If Kevin Sheedy is not the right person to take on the Richmond coaching role, then a sound selection process will ensure his application not successful. But to call for him not to even apply for the role betrays either a personal dislike for the man or an attempt to paper over the remaining cracks in Richmond’s off-field structure.

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?


  1. As a postscript, I’d like to add that my comment about Caro’s stance possibly betraying a dislike for Sheeds is probably a bit unfair and more likely reflects a wish to avoid destabilising the club. My point is that the club should be strong enough in an off-field leadership sense to be able to accept pushes for certain entities to become coach and deal with them via “due process”. (Pardon the corporate-speak).


  2. Pamela Sherpa says

    A strong club with quality leadership should be able to cope with a simple job application, but how often does hype,spin and emotion cloud that judgement? Remember we’re talking about football.
    Caro has good reason to be apprehensive.
    As a Bomber supporter I was glad to see the rear end of Sheedy. Yes, he had success but in the later years I thought he mistakenly believed himself to be bigger than the club.

  3. Pamela, in the case of Richmond, it seems hype, spin and emotion have clouded judgement far too many times in the past. If I was a Richmond fan, my choice for coach wouldn’t be Sheedy and I would share Caro’s apprehension. But apprehension should not decide whether someone is given an opportunity to present their case. The underlying feeling that I came away with after reading her article was that the current board would never appoint Sheedy. That’s fine but if they excluded him from the process of selection and then had some more lean years with another coach, they would have left themselves wide open to further criticism. To his credit, Gary March has now come out and said that he would welcome Sheedy’s application and would give him the same due process as any other applicant. As I said in my article, if he is not the man for the job, a good selection process should reveal that. That doesn’t mean the process has to be some artificial corporate “key performance indicator” type of thing. Just one that does not exclude anyone on the basis of apprehension alone.


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