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Essendon chief’s “curious” extension raises eyebrows


Ross Lyon has questioned Essendon’s “curious” decision to extended chief executive Xavier Campbell’s contract amid the club’s 2-7 start to the season.

While no official announcement has been made, Campbell has reportedly inked a two-year deal to stay on as Bombers CEO.

Campbell, who has served in the role since July 2014, was set to come out of contract at the end of the season.

Essendon are languishing in 16th position on the AFL ladder and are yet to win a final during Campbell’s tenure.

“It happened at Carlton. Cain (Liddle) was very good at sponsorship, but at the end of the day, the football piece was sadly lacking,” Lyon told Channel 9’s Footy Classified.

“That’s his number one KPI, establishing a football culture and program as a CEO.

“I’m curious of the timing. How could you possibly appoint someone who’s got that KPI in the middle of what they’re going through?

“It’s a very curious extension.”

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The former St Kilda and Fremantle coach added: “You don’t want to lose your best talented players.

“(Joe) Daniher, the son of a legend, you’ve got (Adam) Saad who went there and left who has settled into Carlton beautifully, and you’ve got (Orazio) Fantasia.

“Some questions have got to be asked. We all thought it was about the players, but it doesn’t look like it was about those three, does it?”

Essendon great Tim Watson says his former club’s problems lie on-field rather than off it.

“Essendon’s problem right now is that they display an inconsistent brand of football, their effort is inconsistent to win the ball, they can’t move the ball freely when they have the ball, and they can’t defend the ground when the opposition has the ball,” Watson told SEN Breakfast.

“Right now, I don’t think they need a review into any other part of their football club other than the coaching department and the players and find out why they’re getting that part of the game so wrong.

“Am I completely misreading the situation? You can talk about all the other stuff. When Paul Brasher (president) came to the club he conducted a rigorous review and he interviewed everybody around the club and inside the club and he did it personally.

“Let’s give them a little bit of time to fix this, but right now, as I see it, my view of this is that it is an on-field problem about the way they play, and the people at the club who are given that responsibility to fix it are the coaches and the players. They’re the ones who can do something about this.”

Essendon are striving to win a premiership and reach 125,000 members by 2026 as part of a five-year plan they unveiled in 2021.


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