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2018 Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Awards Night

Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018


Collingwood Magpies coach Nathan Buckley was unveiled as the Monjon Allan Jeans Senior Coach of the Year for the first time at the 2018 Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Association Awards on Tuesday night.

Buckley edged out fellow Grand Final coach Adam Simpson (West Coast Eagles), and Simon Goodwin (Melbourne Demons) just days after leading the Magpies to their first Grand Final since 2011, and just 12 months removed from a thirteenth place finish and internal review that threatened his tenure at the club.

The 46-year-old accepted the award, which was voted on by his peers and named in honour of coaching legend Allan Jeans, in front of more than 370 guests at Peninsula in Docklands. 

Buckley was deemed to be the best performed senior coach throughout the 2018 season, up to and including the preliminary finals, and having regard for current season's performance, available resources, player talent and team management.

AFL Coaches Association CEO Mark Brayshaw hailed Buckley’s strength under pressure, and his ability to turn the tide at the Holden Centre after four consecutive years without a finals appearance. 

“It’s a terrific result for Nathan, because he’s had an absolutely fantastic season after navigating last year’s internal review with such class. Questions were asked about him and the club after the last few seasons, but he held his head high throughout and is now reaping the rewards,” Brayshaw said.

“We congratulate him, his assistant and development coaches and also those around and above Nathan at Collingwood.

“We know this Award is held in high esteem, because it’s determined by the 180 AFL coaches. Well done to Nathan and his panel of assistant and development coaches,” Brayshaw said.

Several other awards were announced throughout the night, the most notable of which was the 2018 PwC Coaching Legend, which saw the induction of Denis Pagan as an AFLCA Coaching Legend.

The former North Melbourne and Carlton coach was at the helm for 344 senior AFL games over his career, and guided the Kangaroos to two premierships in 1996 and 1999, holding a finals series win-loss record of 14 wins, 8 losses.

Pagan was inducted as the PwC Coaching Legend by former charges Alastair Clarkson and Darren Crocker, with glowing tributes paid by Adam Simpson, John Longmire, and Mick Malthouse that spoke to the influence that Pagan has had on the game, and the effect he’s had on their careers and lives.

“What I wanted to do was just prove myself to Denis, that I was a good player, that I could handle whatever he put in front of me…it didn’t take a lot to get the best out of me, because I just wanted to please him.” Simpson said.

“He got the best out of his players because he knew which players to push, and push — in some instances — really hard. But also which players to put an arm around, and when,” Longmire said.

“I had a great respect for Denis’ capabilities as a coach. From a distance, probably his greatest strength was that he had no fear.” Malthouse said.

Pagan joins fellow coaching greats Kevin Sheedy, Leigh Matthews, David Parkin, Allan Jeans, Tom Hafey, Ron Barassi, John Kennedy Snr, Mick Malthouse, and Malcolm Blight on the esteemed list of coaching legends.

Also honoured for their contribution to the game was one of the giants of football in South Australia, Alan Stewart, who was presented with the Shadforth Financial Group Lifetime Achievement Award.

Stewart, who devoted much of his life to developing players and coaches, was presented with the Award by Neil Craig, who paid homage to Stewart’s immense influence on football in South Australia. Of particular note was Stewart’s involvement with the Central District Football Club in the SANFL, which spans more than half a century.

Stewart also served as Recruiting Manager for Port Adelaide Power from 1997-2004, and has been employed by the Adelaide Crows in Talent Identification and as Player Development Manager since late 2004. Former Crows Captain Nathan van Berlo spoke of the impact Stewart had on his career, and on the Adelaide Football Club as a whole.

“He’s brutally honest, he’s super caring, and he gets the best out of his players in every way shape and form. I’ve never seen anyone with as big of an impact as what Alan had over his time at the footy club. The biggest lesson I ever learned from him was just to keep it simple” van Berlo said.

For the second year running, the Atlantic Group Assistant Coach of the Year Award went to Rhyce Shaw for his work at the Sydney Swans, ahead of Hawthorn Hawks coaching duo Chris Newman and Darren Glass. Former Sydney Swans colleague and current Gold Coast Suns Senior Coach, Stuart Dew presented Rhyce with his award having high praise for Rhyce and the impact he had at the Swans.

Western Bulldogs Development Coach Jordan Russell was awarded the La Trobe Business School Career and Education Award, which recognises a coach who has excelled in furthering their coaching credentials through study and career development. Russell – a Western Bulldogs VFL player and part time coach in 2014-2016 – completed his Diploma of Management and Advanced Diploma of Management during these years, and since becoming a full time coach in 2017-18 has been completing his Certificate in Sports Coaching.

Gerard Whateley’s stranglehold on the AFLCA Media Award continued, being voted by the coaches for a fifth consecutive year as the winner of the Award for his work on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 and in his new role on SEN 1116.


2018 Monjon Allan Jeans Senior Coach of the Year

1. NATHAN BUCKLEY - Collingwood Magpies - 344 votes   

2. ADAM SIMPSON - West Coast Eagles - 271 votes

3. SIMON GOODWIN - Melbourne Demons - 82 votes

2018 Atlantic Group Assistant Coach of the Year

1. RHYCE SHAW - Sydney Swans

2. CHRIS NEWMAN - Hawthorn Hawks

3. DARREN GLASS - Hawthorn Hawks