List boss in firing line amid Bombers’ struggles

The heat has been turned up on long-time Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro amid the club’s struggles this season, with suggestions a change is needed in the Bombers’ recruiting department.

Dodoro has been a pantomime villain of sorts during the trade period due to his reputation of being a tough negotiator, but has brokered some massive trade deals for the Bombers in recent years with the acquisitions of Dylan Shiel, Devon Smith and Jake Stringer.

Essendon’s lack of finals success over the last two decades has seen a number of coaches come and go following iconic mentor Kevin Sheedy’s exit in 2007. However, Dodoro has remained the one constant figure in the club’s staff during that same period.

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With Dodoro having been at the club since 1998 in a variety of recruitment roles, the club’s inability to win a final since 2004 has raised questions over whether the veteran list boss is the right man for the job.

It is a question worth asking, according to Footy Classified host, Craig Hutchison.

“Their trades clearly haven’t worked,” Hutchison said of Dodoro’s recent dealings.

“Shiel’s three years into seven years and you paid a lot for it, you couldn’t put that down as even remotely a success.

“That has all happened on the same recruiting manager’s watch. This might sound unfair, but if you think of a coach and list manager as the two most important jobs in footy, it’s hard to imagine a senior coach surviving that run.

“So he’s either being let down badly by coaches and by game structure, or they’ve got to make a change.

“He’s highly respected by the other teams and in football circles and he’s a fantastic person, but if you put that resume up in isolation they’re going to have to do something to change things there.

“That can’t continue. He would probably argue I’m sure that he’s been let down by coaches along the way because it’s not just one thing, but it just can’t continue.”

Hutchison’s questions about Dodoro’s success as Essendon’s list manager was backed up by Port Adelaide great, Kane Cornes.

“It’s the best job to have in football,” Cornes told Footy Classified.

“You get to have the longest (period) and no one works out whether you’ve passed or failed for a long period of time.

“I think when you make big moves and you give seven-year contracts to players that are now playing as a sub and are dropped, then the pressure rightly comes on you.”

Essendon great Matthew Lloyd was one of many players who was outlasted at the club by Dodoro, but he pointed to a lack of ruthlessness among the coaching department as a major problem.

With Essendon’s current coaching staff of Ben Rutten, Blake Caracella and Daniel Giansiracusa lacking significant experience, Lloyd called on the club to bring in an experienced head, as Melbourne did with Mark Williams, in a bid to drive better standards.

“It has been too accepting,” Lloyd said of the club’s culture.

“There’s always been a reason, ‘We’re a few players off, it’s not our time’, it’s this, it’s that.

“I’m wondering who the next ‘Chocco’ Williams is out there that they can get into that panel and razz some players up because there is an element of (being too nice).

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“For Mark Williams to walk in and say to Clayton Oliver, ‘You know you’re not a great kick’, not too many coaches would say that to a player, whereas ‘Chocco’ Williams doesn’t care. So I think that’s something that has to be looked at.

“I know for a fact that Oliver and (Christian) Petracca, the way they’ve been taught to play has been driven into them around defending the ground. It has to be instilled into you in a certain way. There has to be firm language towards how you play.”

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