NORTH Ballarat chairman Jen Bromley shed little light on the board move to axe decorated VFL premiership coach Gerard FitzGerald at the season’s end.
Bromley, addressing media on Tuesday, said the board felt a coaching change was needed to move the Roosters forward with a standalone team in the Victorian Football League.
She offered no further clarification how in the direction the club wanted to take or the criteria it wants in a VFL coach other than that the board was 100 per cent committed to staying in the state league and reviewing best structures to do so.
North Ballarat directors were to meet with AFL Victoria chief executive officer Steven Reaper and football operations manager John Hook in Ballarat late Tuesday, at North’s request, for a clearer outline on the demands of a standalone club in the VFL.
Community reaction has overwhelmingly been a demand to know why the board chose not to stick with an experienced and well-regarded coach in FitzGerald, who led the Roosters to three consecutive VFL premierships, 2008-10.
“The board is of the view moving forward we needed a change. We understand it is a difficult decision given the history of the club,” Bromley said.
The board made its decision on Thursday night, a decision Bromley said was hastened at FitzGerald’s insistance to know his future. Bromley said it was a tough decision. She would not confirm, when pressed, if the decision was unanimous, only that directors stand together as a board.
Bromely said the head coaching position would be advertised and the board had not yet considered potential candidates.
“Everyone know there is no ideal football coach,” Bromley said. “We haven’t decided if if we want someone from the AFL...that review process is still in place and that decision will happen very soon.”
FitzGerald has made clear since a post-season review last year that he wanted to coach on into the Roosters’ new standalone era.
The board announced its decision at a club stakeholders’ meeting on Monday night, which Bromley admitted evoked “quite a reaction”.
FitzGerald informed players and staff of the board’s decision on Monday night, having already coached the Roosters’ to a win against Casey that weekend.
“I hope the true lessons in life that I try and pass on to my players and staff are ones that I action myself,” FitzGerald said.
“I clearly wanted to continue to coach the club and I felt I was the best person to coach the club. It’s been a very difficult few days.”
The board blocked players from talking to media at the press conference. Only Roosters’ leadership group players were in attendance.
“At the end of 2014 my coaching performance was formally and comprehensively reviewed by a sub-committee of the then board of the North Ballarat Football Club.
“As a result of the positive feedback from that process, I sought an extension of my contract until the end of the season 2017.
"Following the board meeting on Thursday 18th June, I was advised that my contract will not be extended beyond this current term, which expires on October 31st, 2015.
“Whilst I am obviously disappointed with that decision, I am committed to fulfilling my contractual obligations as head coach of the North Ballarat Football Club to the best of my ability.”