Geelong coach Gary Ayres remained non-committal about his future last
night, but all the indications pointed to him leaving the club and taking up
Adelaide's lucrative three-year offer.
At his media conference yesterday after the Cats' 51-point defeat of
Fremantle, Ayres said he was still making up his mind and would inform the
Geelong administration of his decision within the next couple of days. He has
one year of his contract to run at Shell Stadium.
``What I'm going to do now is go away and weigh up my options," Ayres said,
not just once but in response to almost every question about his plans.
However, an Adelaide source last night told The Age that although nothing had
been signed, the Crows expect Ayres to be named as Blight's replacement either
tomorrow or Wednesday.
The appearance at Shell Stadium last night of former West Coast captain John
Worsfold fanned speculation that the Cats were already in the process of
formulating contingency plans should Ayres decide to leave.
Worsfold, who had been tipped by Cats' chief executive Brian Cook earlier in
the day as a possible replacement for Ayres, was at the ground with his wife,
Georgie, and Cook's wife, Annette.
Speaking on 3LO before yesterday's match, Ayres was asked whether he could
see John Worsfold coaching Geelong next year. He replied: ``You'd have to speak
to Brian Cook about that."
The former Eagles strongman, who has been out of the game for a year, has
expressed an interest in coaching and the Geelong job would hold a definite
appeal given that Cook, a long-time ally of Worsfold's when he was chief
executive at West Coast, is now at the helm at Shell Stadium.
It is believed he and Cook, and their wives, had dinner together last night
after a Geelong board meeting that was devoted exclusively to the coaching
issue. Ayres spoke to the players, and coaching staff, at a meeting on Saturday
where he gave no indication about which way he was leaning.
One of club's longest-serving players, onballer Peter Riccardi, said the team
was still in the dark about who would be coaching it next season. ``He (Ayres)
told us he was going to weigh up his options," said Riccardi. ``So at this
stage we don't know which road he'll take.
``If he stays it's good for us because he's been here for five years now and
we know the way he wants us to play. If he goes, it'll be disappointing, but I
suppose he's got to look after his own future. We'll just have to start again
under a new coach."
Meanwhile, the future of former captain Barry Stoneham was still unclear last
night. Ayres said he had discussed Stoneham's future with him on Monday but did
not reveal what was said.
Teammate Tim McGrath said Stoneham had not yet told the players his
intentions. ``That's up to Bazza. He clearly should play next year, he's been in
fantastic form. We can't really influence what he's going to do but we'd love
to have Bazza next year," he said.