Dangerfield rules out coaching due to stress, workload

·2-min read
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Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield has emphatically ruled out a career in coaching due to the enormous toll of the job.

Dangerfield, a genuine modern-day great as a Brownlow medallist and an eight-time All-Australian, will pursue another career once his playing days are over.

It comes as the mental health of coaches is in the spotlight after Alastair Clarkson stepped away from North Melbourne indefinitely and three-time Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick cited burnout as a reason for unexpectedly quitting the Tigers after 14 years this week.

"No way, no, not ever to be honest," Dangerfield told SEN when asked if he would ever consider coaching.

"The level of scrutiny, which is fine, that's part of the game, it's high level sport.

"But the requirements are enormous. You're always on and I think it affects more than just the coaches themselves, it's their families, it's their kids. You are never truly off."

Dangerfield conceded coaching was an enticing job for lots of people in the AFL industry but it didn't interest him.

"And certainly not after experiencing and playing footy for a long period of time it does drain you," he said.

"I feel like we do things really quite well at Geelong in terms of that work-life balance, but it's still an energy sapping industry just with what you put into it.

"And no one puts more into it than what coaches do because they're always thinking about it."

Clubs are feeling the pinch more than ever with numerous assistant coaching jobs axed when COVID-19 shut down the AFL for more than three months in 2020.

The AFL Coaches Association has pushed for the soft cap spending on football departments to return to pre-COVID levels to alleviate some stress.

Even Clarkson, while coaching Hawthorn, raised concerns about the toll on the industry in 2020 when former North Melbourne mentor Rhyce Shaw exited the job due to mental health challenges after just one full season in the job.

"I'm a bit concerned for our profession, particularly the 17 peers in the roles that we've got," Clarkson said in October 2020.

"Any coach that does it particularly tough, he has to carry that in his public life more so than what a coach would have to do in a much bigger market like America or Europe.

"That carries an enormous strain for many in our industry and I have got concerns given the high quality of all those lads I've mentioned.

"I'm concerned and I think the game should be concerned because it's an enormous burden to carry."