Brendon Bolton has been sacked. Pic: AAP
Brendon Bolton has been sacked. Pic: AAP

Coach breaks down after sacking

CARLTON has confirmed former coach Brendon Bolton has been sacked immediately on a day of high drama at the struggling club.

Bolton arrived at Ikon Park on Monday morning with his manager Tom Petroro ready to face the music from club officials.

It was supposed to be a crisis meeting between club powerbrokers and senior staff - but it ended with Bolton facing a press conference to announce his termination just a few hours later.

A 41-point defeat against Essendon on Sunday left the Blues rooted to the bottom of the ladder. Club bosses met in Melbourne on Monday morning to discuss the coach's future.

Carlton president Mark LoGiudice, CEO Cain Liddle and football boss Brad Lloyd then convened at Ikon Park in an ominous sign and players were told not to respond to questions as they arrived.

Reports then came in thick and fast that Bolton has been terminated 11 games into the season.

The club then held a media conference to officially announce the decision at 2.15pm where Bolton and LoGiudice were forced to face the firing squad.

Bolton said he does not hold any grudges towards Carlton, despite the fact his coaching career now lies in tatters.

Brendon Bolton shed tears at the announcement.
Brendon Bolton shed tears at the announcement.

"I'm obviously disappointed, but I understand the reality of this caper," Bolton said, admitting it was time for him to move on.

"The win-loss threshold just got too much.

"It's another Carlton-first decision so that's the way it is.

"I'm disappointed I didn't get to see the plan through."

His final message, which was met with a round of applause, was: "I love coaching".

He wiped away tears from his eyes during the announcement and was visibly shaking as he finished his list of acknowledgments to his staff, fans and family.

Bolton was forced to sit there as LoGiudice ran through a list of all his failures as a coach.

Brendon Bolton is yet to decide if he will coach again.
Brendon Bolton is yet to decide if he will coach again.

LoGiudice said the club had been reviewing Bolton's performance for a number of weeks and said the decision to sack Bolton was made easier by the nature of the club's heavy losses in recent weeks.

The president was also forced to defend his own role and is refusing to stand down from the club's top office.

He also repeatedly said the club has not spoken to any other rival coaches and has not made any decisions about who will coach the club in 2020.

"Probably the way we lost some of the games helped the decision, I suppose," he said.

"We do have a game plan, we do have a strategy but at the end of the day it was the win-loss that ultimately came to this decision.

"I want to be very, very clear, Brendon Bolton has been an outstanding person for this football club."

LoGiudice said the club's re-build strategy has not changed. He also refused to accept that the club's giant draft gamble to snatch midfielder Liam Stocker from the Crows last year has blown up in the club's face.

The Blues famously made a live trade with Adelaide to exchange first round picks in 2019 during last year's draft in a move that allowed the Blues to draft Stocker.

However, as it stands, the Blues have in effect handed the Crows the top draft pick at this year's national draft with the Blues sitting dead last on the ladder.

Brendon Bolton. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Photos/Getty Images)
Brendon Bolton. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott and VFL coach Josh Fraser were expected to feature in the club's discussions surrounding its next coach, however, the club confirmed in a statement that Blues forwards coach David Teague has been appointed as interim coach.

Senior Carlton players Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty also fronted a media conference to declare their support for the board's decision to sack Bolton.

The club released a statement to members just a few minutes before the press conference where the club outlined why Bolton was sacked after almost four years.

"Poor on-field performances over a sustained period of time have reached the point where the club was left with no choice but to make the difficult decision it has today," LoGiudice said in the statement.

"Quite simply the lack of wins has fallen short of what our football club expects at this stage of its development. There was an expectation this season that we would start to see the benefits of that development however to this point that has not occurred to the level we expected and Carlton cannot afford to sit back and wait any longer.

"While winning does not solely rely on one individual, the ultimate accountability sits with the senior coach."