Rocket's final mission to the Moon

Breaking news today from the Gold Coast with the all-too-expected news of former Swans grand final coach Rodney "Rocket" Eade copping the boot from the Suns.

The one-time grand finalist coach of the Swans, transformed the defensive nature of the game with his "flood" game style, that was criticised and maligned for most of his tenure, yet was still able to guide Sydney into the grand final in 1996.

After being handed his papers by the Swans in 2002, despite a 53% win/loss record, he moved to the Bulldogs where he managed to guide them into consecutive preliminary finals in 2009 and 2010, narrowly losing to St Kilda on both occasions.

He retired from coaching at the end of 2011, boasting a 54% win/loss record with the Dogs and eventually took on the position of Football and Coaching Strategist at Collingwood, replacing out going Mick Malthouse, who'd thrown a tantrum on his way out the door.

In 2014, Rocket was appointed the coach of the fledgling Gold Coast Suns, replacing Guy McKenna who'd been unceremoniously shown the door, something he didn't deserve given their improving on-field performances.

Eade's appointment was immediately followed by stinging criticism of the off-field performance and culture of the Suns, and he immediately set about rebuilding a brand new club, in its infancy, in all his wisdom.

The net result? He won 16 games over three seasons, including embarrassing losses to the Giants, Crows and Swans this season, as well as their perennial 100 point flogging seasonal ritual.

It's hard to see what improvement he brought to the team, with the 2015 season significantly worse than the 2014 season, winning just 4 games compared to 10 the previous season, scoring almost 300 less and conceding 200 more.

The fortunes of the struggling club have not improved in subsequent seasons, with 6 wins last season and just 6 again in 2017, constantly dogged by Gary Ablett-related issues and rumours, even refusing to play at times, and the steady trickle of players leaving the club.

Perhaps Eade will be remembered more for the failures of the Suns than anything else, despite some of the positive influences and strides the club has made in recent years.

After a solid start to the 2016 season, winning the first three matches, the Suns went on to lose the next 10 by a quite frankly ridiculous average of 57 points.

The Suns stuck firm with Eade through the 2016 season, despite a cacophony of noise from the greater AFL community calling for his replacement, and despondent supporters struggling to see any positive improvement on the horizon.

Predictably, the Swans old firm of coaches has been linked with the now-vacant Suns head coach position, let's just hope that they're sane enough to pass up the opportunity.

At least the Suns have Mark Evans and a strong AFL influence directing the club, instead of excuse-making, sensationalist cheap-shot merchants, who have no business running a club.

This is one quagmire the AFL made on their own.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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