The former Kangaroos mentor was unveiled as the Bombers’ new senior coach on Thursday, following an independent selection process to replace his sacked predecessor, Ben Rutten.
While Scott only formally interviewed for the role with Essendon’s coaching sub-committee on Thursday, he revealed that the meeting followed weeks of due diligence from both parties.
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”On a number of occasions I said to Essendon that I fully respected if they wanted to move on with their process,” Scott revealed.
“Fortunately for me they were prepared to wait.
“That didn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of due diligence going on at the same time but I entered the process late and went through the exact same process as the other candidates.”
“We respected Brad’s position (as AFL football operations boss), which he was really clear on, that he couldn’t get involved till after the grand final,” Essendon president David Barham added.
“So we were waiting until grand final day to see what happened there.
“I think that showed Brad that we were serious.”
With experienced names such as Ross Lyon, Don Pyke and Leon Cameron opting out of Essendon’s process, questions have been asked about how desirable the role actually was. Scott’s comments showed that being the coach of Essendon still held the same allure of yesteryear.
“There’s a lot that the club is doing really, really well. And that will be my first port of call to make sure that we retain all the great things that already existed in this football program and within this football club,” he said.
“So, it wasn’t a matter of being convinced, I was impressed from day one.
“I think there’s massive opportunity here but that’s all it is, an opportunity, and one I was keen to take on.”
Barham identified Scott’s appointment as a chance to reposition the club for sustained success after a tumultuous last decade both on and off the field.
“This is one of the most exciting days in this football club’s history,” he said.
“We get to start with a new coach, start another chapter in what is a long and storied history of the football club. We’re looking forward positively and with great enthusiasm about the next years ahead.”
At the completion of the selection process, which began with a shortlist of over 22 candidates in August, Barham revealed he and football general manager Josh Mahoney had spoken to Scott “a couple of weeks ago”.
While admitting he entered the process late, Scott was adamant that he’d taken the same steps as the other candidates he’d beaten to the role.
The 46-year-old added that having to go through the process was a big indicator to him that Essendon was the right fit, despite the recent off-field upheaval at the club.
“For me the decision was, ‘Do I want to coach again?’,” he said.
“Once I’d made that decision, I had to be crystal clear that Essendon was the right fit. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have accepted the invitation if it had simply been, ‘If you want to do the job, the job is yours’. I had to prove to the panel and to the board that I was the right fit for this football club, and in my view, that’s the only way to do it.”
In discussing his choice to leave the AFL’s football operations department after three years, Scott said it circled back to doing what he loves.
“It was a really difficult decision for me because I made a conscious decision when I went to the AFL that I was going to fully invest in an administration career,” he said.
“I had been at AFL football clubs my entire adult life before going to the AFL, and by definition at a club, you’re very narrow in your view and you’re very focused on what you need to do so the three years at the AFL taught me a lot.
“I learned that there’s a massive football ecosystem out there. And I think I come back to the role of coaching with a much more rounded approach as to what the football ecosystem is.
“But ultimately, I love coaching players. I love improving people.
“Talent was part of my portfolio at the AFL and every time I went out and looked at the pathway, I couldn’t get away from the fact that that’s really what I love doing. I love developing boys down the talent pathway through their adult life. And that was the most satisfying thing about coaching previously.”
Scott also spoke of how impressed he was with Barham and Essendon GM of football Mahoney’s renewed focus on football at the club.
“I want to see the football team perform and I want to create a program that enables them to do that,” he said.
“We’ve got some work to do. Leading game analysis of the AFL gives a unique insight as to where the game’s been, where it is now, and probably where it’s going. So I don’t have a view on there is one way to play the game.
“I’ve been exposed to some great coaches, some great programs. And the only thing that I can say about that is they’re all different. And they all have different focus areas and I don’t come in with a preconceived idea as to how we should play.”
It remains unclear whether assistants who worked under Rutten such as Daniel Giansiracusa and Blake Caracella would retain their roles under Scott, who said he comes in with an “open mind”.
Scott revealed that he’d not told Essendon his desire to bring in a handpicked staff. Caracella was on hand at Scott’s press conference and was spotted shaking hands with the incoming coach as he made his way into the conference room.
Having hired its senior coach, Essendon is set to appoint a new CEO next week, with the findings of the external review into the club set to be handed down inside the next month.
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