Carlton coach Mick Malthouse says he finds it difficult to talk publicly and that can be reflected in his prickly post-match press conferences.
Malthouse has been criticised as combative and dismissive of the media but says he’s uncomfortable despite 30 years in the job.
“I’m probably opening up my soul a bit here but I find it very, very difficult to talk publicly, and I’ve been doing it for 30 years,” Malthouse told a media conference on Thursday.
He said he was willing to try to change if his public prickliness reflected badly on the AFL club.
“If people view that, then I’ve got to look at it because if it’s not good then it’s not good for Carlton,” Malthouse said.
“Some coaches are comfortable, I’m not.
“My media conferences haven’t been picture perfect.
“But it’s not by design to hurt anyone, it’s to finish it as quick as I can.”
He said he had spoken to Ling and they agreed the media reaction to their confrontation was “over the top”.
Carlton great Mark Maclure this week questioned whether Malthouse should lead the side in 2015 and said his angry antics in the box meant he wasn’t coaching with a clear head.
Malthouse said he hadn’t heard the comments but denied emotion affected his ability to coach.
“I’ve been compromised for 30 years if that’s the case,” he said.
“I think you should go back through a bit of footage. I’ve coached that way for 30 years.
“I pride myself on having a cool head with directives to my player group under all circumstances.”
The veteran coach, who is now within 10 games of equalling the all-time VFL/AFL games coaching record of 714 set by Collingwood legend Jock McHale, said there was too much television focus on coaches.
He said many of the coaches who attended dinner this week with AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan agreed.
Malthouse said his young grandson wouldn’t go to their next match because he was sick of seeing his grandfather either booed or on the big screen.
“The superstars are the players,” Malthouse said.
“There’s that much to look at … we are such a sideshow.
“We get too much airplay and I think it’s overkill.
“The true champions of our game are on the ground and that’s what people want to see.”
Melbourne coach Paul Roos agreed.
“I don’t understand the fixation with coaches and it just seems strange to me,” Roos told SEN Radio on Thursday.
“I’d rather see the game.”