THE LION KING: Fagan Guides Cubs to Finals, Wins 2019 Coaches Award
Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan was unveiled as the Monjon Allan Jeans Senior Coach of the Year for the first time at the 2019 Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Association Awards on Tuesday night in Melbourne.
Fagan edged out Leon Cameron (GWS GIANTS) and Damien Hardwick (Richmond Tigers) after a season that saw the Lions catapult up the AFL Ladder from 15th place in 2018, to second place in 2019.
The 58-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 350 guests at The Timber Yard in Melbourne.
Fagan was deemed to be the best performed senior coach throughout the 2019 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 acknowledged the huge improvement in the Lions’ performance in 2019 was due in no small part to Fagan’s expert leadership, and his ability to build close relationships with a young playing group.
“We’re absolutely thrilled for Chris, in only his third year as a senior coach he’s had an incredible season. His strong leadership and experiences are reaping reward in an exciting phase for the Lions,” Brayshaw said.
“To the Lions board’s credit, they trusted Chris to build a positive future, and it’s paid off handsomely.
“We know this Award is held in high esteem, because it’s determined by the 190 AFL coaches. We congratulate Chris, his assistant and development coaches, and also those around and above Chris at Brisbane.”
Several other awards were announced throughout the night, a notable distinction of the evening came as Neale Daniher was recognised through the naming of the AFL Coaches Association Lifetime Achievement Award in honour of his immense contribution to playing, coaching, and the game of Australian Rules football overall. The award will now be known as the Neale Daniher AFL Coaches Association Lifetime Achievement Award. See below Neale Daniher background.
The 2019 Neale Daniher AFL Coaches Association Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by Daniher to Stephen Wells, legendary recruiter for the Geelong Football Club. See below Stephen Wells background.
Neil Balme, Corey Enright, Tom Harley and Brian Cook paid tribute to Wells’ influence in his tenure. Former Cats Defender Enright spoke of the impact Wells had on his career, and on the Geelong Football Club as a whole.
“Stephen is super passionate about the football club, everything from the players he brings in to the direction of the club,” Enright said.
“I owe a lot to Wellsy, without him I wouldn’t have had the career or life I’ve had and I’ll be forever grateful that he drafted me.
“He’s a fantastic football person, there’s a lot that goes into it and he has done a remarkable job to continue to build lists over the journey and give Geelong the best chance to succeed, he’s played a big role in that and very deserving of this award.”
The 2019 Atlantic Group Assistant Coach of the Year Award went to Craig McRae for his work at the Richmond Tigers. McRae is the 2019 VFL Premiership Coach after his Tigers VFL team had a thrilling three point victory over Williamstown in the VFL Grand Final on Sunday. Geelong’s Nigel Lappin finished second, and Sydney’s Dean Cox third.
Essendon’s Dan Jordan was awarded the 2019 La Trobe Business School Career and Education Award, being recognised for furthering his coaching credentials through study and career development.
Jordan completed his Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Business in 2017, which allowed him to enter the final year of a Bachelor of Applied Management, a two year course which he completed in 12 months. In July, Jordan spent eight days in Buenos Aires in the inner sanctum of the New Zealand All Blacks.
Gerard Whateley’s stranglehold on the AFL Coaches Association’s Media Award continued, being voted by the coaches for his work on Fox Footy’s AFL360 and SEN 1116, for the sixth year in a row.
2019 MONJON ALLAN JEANS SENIOR COACH OF THE YEAR
1. CHRIS FAGAN - BRISBANE LION - 361 Votes
2. LEON CAMERON - GWS GIANTS - 238 Votes
3. DAMIEN HARDWICK - RICHMOND TIGERS - 206 Votes
2019 ATLANTIC GROUP ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR
1. CRAIG McRAE - RICHMOND TIGERS
2. NIGEL LAPPIN - GEELONG CATS
3. DEAN COX - SYDNEY SWANS
BACKGROUND ON NEALE DANIHER
Following his 82 game career with Essendon, Daniher turned to coaching with a stint as an assistant at the Bombers from 1992-1994 under Kevin Sheedy, where they won the 1993 premiership. Daniher then headed to the newly formed Fremantle Dockers in 1995, before being appointed senior coach of the Melbourne Football Club in 1998, a role he would fill for 10 years. Daniher led the Demons to their most recent AFL Grand Final appearance in 2000, and his leadership throughout a difficult off-field period helped drive membership numbers for the Demons, with his media spruiking earning him the nickname ‘The Reverend’.
Daniher was an inaugural member of the AFL Coaches Association in 2002 and Vice-President of the very first AFL Coaches Association Executive Committee in 2002.
In 2008 Daniher was appointed General Manager of Football Operations for the West Coast Eagles but stepped away from the role in 2013 following his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease.
Daniher’s focus has turned to fighting the ‘beast’, raising awareness and funds to find a cure for MND through the establishment of FightMND and Big Freeze at the ‘G. His incredible work has led to millions of dollars being raised towards research into finding a cure. Daniher was recognised in 2016 with a Member of the Order of Australia award on the Queen's birthday and in 2019 he was named Victorian of the Year.
BACKGROUND ON STEPHEN WELLS – 2019 NEALE DANIHER LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER
Wells started employment with the Cats in 1984, when he moved to Echuca to become a Development Zone Officer.
Then recruiting manager, and former Geelong premiership player and coach, Bill McMaster realised early on that Stephen was very good at spotting talented footballers.
Wells had two years in Echuca in the development officer role, before moving back to Geelong in 1986 where he had roles as Assistant Coach of the U19 team (1986-1990), Assistant Football Manager (1991-1994), all whilst continuing to assist McMaster with recruiting.
McMaster retired at end of 1994 and handed the recruiting manager’s responsibility to Wells, whose first official draft in 1995 yielded the likes of Darren Milburn, Stephen King and Clint Bizzell.
In 2006, Stephen was awarded life membership of the Geelong Football Club, and in 2008, he was also awarded the Reg Hickey Award for outstanding service to Geelong Football Club
Stephen continues to hold the role of Recruiting Manager to this date and, as the recruiting & list management landscape evolved in 2000s, added the responsibility of also becoming the Cats’ List Manager.
His recruiting record speaks for itself. Since beginning his employment with Geelong Football Club, the Cats have played in eight grand finals, won three premierships, brought in four Brownlow Medallists (Paul Couch, Gary Ablett Jnr., Jimmy Bartel, and Patrick Dangerfield), countless All Australian players and several 200-300 game players for the Geelong Football Club.
Some of his most famous drafts are 1999 (Joel Corey, Paul Chapman, Cameron Ling, Corey Enright), 2001 (Bartel, James Kelly, Steve Johnson, Gary Ablett Jnr.), and 2006 (Joel Selwood and Tom Hawkins).
Wells continues to be a valued and popular member of Geelong Football Club. He is a driven and highly competitive person, who has a deep love and respect for our great game and those involved in it.