Caroline Wilson claims Kane Cornes’ criticism of North Melbourne’s recruiting led to Glenn Luff’s sudden resignation.
Cornes questioned the Kangaroos’ recruitment strategy on Channel Nine’s Footy Classified on Monday night, using the club’s decision to draft Will Phillips over Logan McDonald as an example.
“I’d love to ask the question: What’s one positive list management move they have made in the last three years?” Cornes asked.
“Young key forwards are ripping the game apart. You can’t pick players off a computer screen. That’s what I’m saying.
“There needs to be a process with their recruiting and list management that there hasn’t been. Their list manager is from Champion Data, he spent 20 years there, Glenn Luff, so I would think (analytics) is an element that they saw as a strength of his.
“How you could possibly overlook Logan McDonald when you’ve let Ben Brown out of the club. Him teaming up with (Nick) Larkey would’ve been ideal.
“North Melbourne, who are stocked in the midfield, go for a midfielder who is my height. I understand he’s had glandular fever and we haven’t seen him play, but is he going to be as damaging as what Logan McDonald has the potential to be?”
Luff was one of three key Kangaroos recruiters to depart Arden Street this week and Wilson says Cornes’ comments led to Luff’s shock exit.
“My understanding is that Glenn Luff has resigned as a direct result of what happened on Footy Classified on Monday night, which speaks to the disenchantment and paranoia at North Melbourne at the moment,” Wilson told Footy Classified on Wednesday night.
“Glenn Luff apparently has said to friends that this was the final straw for him. He believes that the comments about him might've been leaked … he might’ve been targeted by others at the club. Maybe the CEO, maybe one of the coaches, I'm not sure.
“Who leaves a football club on the basis of one negative comment if everything's fine at the football club? Clearly, Glenn Luff feels that someone at the club is out to get him. That's a bad scene.”
Eddie McGuire backed up Wilson’s report: “He (Luff) did mention to me that there had been a build-up and that Kane’s comments were the tipping point for him.”
Speaking on SEN SA Breakfast, Cornes responded to Wilson’s claim, refusing to back down from his comments on North Melbourne’s recruiting and drafting.
“There’s not a leak to me,” the Port Adelaide champion said.
“This is the bizarre thing about this story. I read in yesterday’s Herald Sun, Jon Ralph wrote about this story as well, and he’s alluded to the same thing.
“He said, ‘Even if he (Luff) was already considering his future, the unfair hit job on some of the list team’s draft picks this week must have had him wondering where that information came from’.
“Jon … this is where that information came from: The AFL Season Guide 2022. Just a little secret for any media or footy fans out there, you can actually scroll to the North Melbourne page, and you can go through every list decision they have made, every trade they’ve brought in, every draft pick they’ve made – and it makes for shocking reading.
“Now, if you’re the list manager of a football club and you make that many errors on your list and players that you bring in like (Jaidyn) Stephenson and like (Atu) Bosenavulagi and like Callum Coleman-Jones are not getting a game for the 17th-ranked side in the competition, then we start to have questions.
“When you pick Will Phillips, who’s a midfielder that’s my height and there’s 50 of them running around in the competition, over Logan McDonald, who took 10 marks and kicked 3.3 on Friday night against Carlton, I’m going to question your decisions.
“Now, if you’re a list manager and you want to be anonymous, you’re in the wrong game. So if Glenn Luff has walked away because of one reasonably benign comment – and it certainly wasn’t a hit job and it certainly wasn’t any inside information, as I said, the information is widely available in the Season Guide, that’s where I got it from – you’re in the wrong sport.
“I’m not going to back away from mentioning Glenn Luff – why is he untouchable?
“You’re sad whenever anyone loses their job. It’s not a nice story, but this is the industry. We’re critical of players, we’re critical of coaches and conversely if you’re Stephen Wells at Geelong and you have an unbelievable record, we’ll pump you up. If you’re Tim Lamb at Melbourne, if you’re Jason Taylor at Melbourne, they’re the two architects of that premiership list, and I’ve spoken about them at length before as well. It’s just the way it works.
“I find it hysterical that someone has left their job because of one relatively … in terms of a hard criticism, that wasn’t on the upper echelon, and he’s quit because of that. It’s bizarre.”