The Gold Coast Suns have pulled the trigger and sacked coach Rodney Eade with three rounds remaining in the AFL home-and-away season.
Eade’s removal as coach came as little surprise, as he struggled to make much of an impression since taking over as head coach from Guy McKenna ahead of the 2015 season.
He managed just 16 wins from 63 matches, with the Suns having finished no higher than 15th during his almost three seasons in charge.
The Suns sit 15th on the 18-team ladder with a 6-13 win-loss record in 2017.
Dean Solomon is believed to be the leading candidate to coach the Suns for the remainder of the season, with Saturday’s Q Clash against the Lions at the Gabba potentially his match in charge.
It is the third occasion in Eade’s senior coaching career that a club has decided not to renew his contract, with stints at Sydney (1996-2002) and Western Bulldogs (2005-2011) finishing in similar circumstances.
Eade had endured a testing time in his three seasons as Suns coach, with the club’s inconsistent on-field form mixed in with a sizeable injury list, as well as a series of off-field issues.
The speculation about Gary Ablett’s future at the Suns had not helped his position this season either, while several high-profile names have been linked to the head-coaching position beyond this season.
Hawthorn’s four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson has previously been mentioned as a possible replacement for Eade, with his strong relationship with Suns chief executive Mark Evans driving the rumours.
But Clarkson is contracted with the Hawks until the end of the 2019 season, meaning the Suns may have to look elsewhere for a head coach next year, with Brett Ratten, John Barker and Stuart Dew expected to be among the candidates.
Eade, a four-time premiership player with the Hawks, had moved to the Suns following the sacking of foundation coach McKenna, who had failed to lead the club to the finals in their first four years in the AFL.
The appointment was regarded as a wise choice, given Eade’s history of guiding the Swans and Bulldogs to several finals campaigns.
Eade had taken the Swans to the 1996 grand final in his first season in charge and led the Bulldogs to three consecutive preliminary finals between 2008 and 2010.
The 59-year-old has coached 377 senior matches to sit 14th on the all-time list, one short of the revered five-time premiership coach Frank Hughes.