Former Carlton coach Mick Malthouse has shed light on his final days at the struggling club, saying he felt he “deserved better” than the treatment he received.
The veteran coach endured a difficult period in the lead-up to his dismissal on Tuesday, having been given a round-10 deadline to get the team up to scratch after seven consecutive losses.
On Tuesday morning, Malthouse landed a handful of what turned out to be parting shots in an explosive interview with SEN Radio and the club sacked him later that day.
“One of the things I did feel more than anything, outside the sense of disappointment, I felt as if I sort of deserved just a little bit better,” the now retired Malthouse told Gerard Whateley on Fox Footy on Thursday night.
“Either a bit more time or less time. I felt a little bit of discomfort that way, but no animosity.”
The statement from club president Mark LoGiudice outlining the deadline for improvement was released on Monday night after Malthouse met with the club’s higher-ups.
Malthouse said he was “very, very disappointed” with the tone of the letter, expressing his desire to have more emphasis on the players and the admittedly difficult journey ahead of them, as opposed to reiterating how “miserable” the team was.
Despite the blatantly inflammatory nature of his comments on Tuesday morning, Malthouse was adamant he did not intend to force the board club to sack him.
He explained his comments were simply a by-product of him being fed up with his team being criticised from pillar to post considering the number of players they had on the sidelines.
Malthouse defended chief executive to AFL investigators
Malthouse’s strained relationship with Blues chief executive Steven Trigg was a regular talking point, but the 718-game coach said he hoped their relationship was still good.
“I have no doubt Mark and Steven think they’ve done the right thing by the club. Whether it’s right or not right doesn’t matter,” he said.
Malthouse vigorously criticised the Carlton board but Trigg was particularly in the firing line.
Malthouse said, when Trigg arrived in Carlton from Adelaide, the CEO told the coach the Crows had Eddie Betts “stitched up” 18 months before his official departure.
AFL rules dictate teams cannot agree to terms with a player from an opposing club before the relevant free-agency period.
The league began an investigation after Malthouse’s statements, eventually finding no breach of the recruitment rules.
Given his job was already tenuous to say the least, rumours began to circulate suggesting Malthouse had intentionally implicated his chief executive as a parting gift.
But the coach said “that’s the last thing that went through my mind”, adding he tried to clean any dirt off Trigg’s name when he spoke to AFL investigators.
“Broadly, I made sure that I thought Steven was totally innocent of any mischief,” Malthouse said.
“It was more about structures – this is how you set the thing up. If there was a slight boast in there, so? This is how it’s done.
“He was running that and I think it’s good practice to get something set up like that. That’s what Stephen Silvagni is at the football club for, to make sure of the future of the club.”