Former Hawthorn star Jordan Lewis has blasted Essendon for his treatment of Ben Rutten, saying he would consider leaving the club if he was a player there.
Despite having a year left on his contract, Rutten is none the wiser about his future beyond this weekend as the club court former Lewis Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson.
Clarkson’s 11th-hour chase left Rutten in a tight spot, with Clarkson also offering his sympathy to the starter Essendon, and Lewis suggested his former manager would struggle to replace Rutten.
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“The way (Clarkson) talked about Ben Rutten at the airport and how he feels about Ben Rutten…talking like that and then accepting a job at that football club, I think that would be really difficult,” he said. he told Fox Footy. AFL360.
“I think the way Essendon handled this and Ben Rutten was shameful.
“If you sit and have been a member of this football club for 10 years wondering why their performance is (high and low) on the pitch, well look at last week. This is a club that is so unstable.
“If I was a player at this football club, you would almost want to leave because of the way they treated a manager who has been there for two years.
“Two years, which coach would come in and win a premiership within two years? It took three years for Alastair, but the real success came nine years later. It took six years for Damien Hardwick.
Rutten finds support in the coaching saga
“I just think it’s been a terrible week for this football club.
“One person is not responsible, so for Alastair to come and solve all his problems, it’s going to be impossible.”
Retired Essendon star Michael Hurley also offered his sympathy, saying he was “sad” that Rutten had been forced to face the speculation.
Lewis mentioned how loyal retainers such as Hurley had suffered from Essendon’s dysfunctional management.
“I feel for Michael Hurley,” he said.
“After everything that had happened in terms of the saga (of the supplements), it was then about building trust within the group of players.
“Still, he comes to his last game this week and he says, ‘All I wanted as a player was to go to a stable football club’, and he never got that. C is quite sad.”
Clarkson is expected to announce his decision on Friday, after landing in Melbourne after traveling to see a sick friend in South Australia.
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