BRENDAN McCARTNEY was officially appointed on 19 September 2011 to a 3 year contract as the Senior Coach at the Western Bulldogs. He is one of the few exceptions to the rule, whereby he does not have a playing history at the highest AFL level. However, when his Australian Rules Football history of involvement is closely examined, he brings very high qualities and work ethics to the table.
McCartney played 87 Games for the Newtown Football Club in the Geelong Football League prior to injury cutting short his playing career. His thirst for the game stimulated his early involvement in Coaching the Newtown Reserves Team in the 1990 Season. McCartney’s first Senior Coaching challenge evolved at the Ocean Grove Football Club in the Bellarine Peninsula League, outside of Geelong. His ability to develop players into a cohesive unit succeeded in delivering the Club as runners-up in Season 1993, then an amazing run of 4 successive Premierships from 1994 – 1997.
Brendan McCartney had impressed Geoff Gieschen with his knowledge, determination and Coaching skills which led to the Richmond Tigers Football Club appointing him to an Assistant Coach and Football Development role , where he performed admirably for Seasons 1998 and 1999. His reputation for dedication to his Players and the Club alerted the Geelong Cats to the enormous local talent that they had temporarily let slip through their fingers, so they approached him, then confirmed McCartney’s appointment as an Assistant Coach for Season 2000.
He was to spend the next 11 years at Geelong, where he initially built a powerful defensive unit , which retains much of its structure today. Star defender Matthew Scarlett and Dual Premiership Captain Tom Harley are 2 products of the McCartney school of Coaching. He was later to assume responsibility for the Cats all powerful midfield structure. Brendan McCartney spent countless hours getting to know his players, which strongly aided their progress both on and off the field. He was instrumental in guiding younger players like Corey Enright and Joel Corey through the mire and rigours of a balanced Australian Rules Football Career, and personal fulfilment away from the pressures of football at the highest level.
McCartney was widely acclaimed for his devotion and compassion at Geelong, which was integral to the powerful Cats performances over the past decade, and it was no surprise when the Essendon Bombers contracted him as an Assistant Coach, responsible for the forward line, for the 2011 Season. He had won the prestigious AFL Assistant Coach of the Year Award for 2010 ( voted by the AFL Coaches Association ), and his friend Mark Thompson had returned to the Essendon Bombers in an Assistant Coaches role.
In a recent interview, McCartney inspired confidence for the Western Bulldogs faithful, with his self-assuredness and the methodology he will utilise to meld the Club into a Premiership threat once again. For those of us who had not been fully aware of McCartney’s contributions as a Development Coach over many Seasons, we need only look at Essendon Bombers great James Hird and his reference to Brendan McCartney in an interview on the Foxtel Network early in 2011, when he said ” I can’t imagine there is a better Coach in Australia in the way he develops players and teaches them to play football. I’m surprised someone like that hasn’t had a chance at Senior Level, because in my time in footy I don’t think I have met a better Coach”.
UPDATE– 9/10/2014-Brendan McCartney has today resigned as Senior Coach of the Western Bulldogs Football Club.
UPDATE– 27/10/1914-Brendan McCartney has today accepted a role as Development and Strategy Coach at the Melbourne Demons Football Club.