Five greatest coaches of VFL/AFL

Mick Malthouse (r) won the 2020 AFL premiership trophy in 2010 as coach of Collingwood.
Mick Malthouse (r) won the 2020 AFL premiership trophy in 2010 as coach of Collingwood.

THE VFL/AFL'S TOP FIVE COACHES OF ALL TIME (in alphabetical order)

ALASTAIR CLARKSON

Coached: 2005-current (Hawthorn). Record: 217 wins, 133 losses, 2 draws. Premierships: 4. Grand Finals: 5. All finals: 16 wins, 10 losses.

The modern-day mastermind rebuilt the Hawks in his first two seasons and since then has missed the finals just once. Four premierships include three consecutive flags from 2013 - a remarkable feat given the equalisation measures in the competition.

MICK MALTHOUSE

Coached: 1984-89 (Footscray), 1990-99 (West Coast), 2000-11 (Collingwood), 2013-15 (Carlton). Record: 406 wins, 305 losses, 7 draws. Premierships: 3. Grand Finals: 7. All finals: 27 wins, 22 losses, 2 draws.

No man has coached more AFL games or won more finals than the shrewd tactician. Durability personified, led the first non-Victorian team to win the premiership (West Coast) and broke a 20-year drought at Collingwood.

JOCK McHALE

Coached: 1912-1949 (Collingwood). Record: 466 wins, 237 losses 10 draws. Premierships: 7. Grand Finals: 16. All finals: 26 wins, 30 losses 2 draws.

Second behind Malthouse on the games coached list, was at the Magpies' helm for an astonishing 38 consecutive years - a record surely never to be neared, let alone broken. His seven premierships is also a competition record.

KEVIN SHEEDY

Coached: 1981-2007 (Essendon), 2012-13 (GWS). Record: 389 wins, 283 losses, 6 draws. Premierships: 4. Grand Finals: 7. All finals: 23 wins, 20 losses.

Four flags in 27-straight years as Essendon's coach when the ex-plumber gained status as the craftiest coach in the business. A visionary and expansionist, answered the AFL's call to lead GWS in their fledgling seasons.

NORM SMITH

Coached: 1949-51 (Fitzroy), 1952-67 (Melbourne), 1969-72 (South Melbourne). Record: 253 wins, 192 losses, 7 draws. Premierships: 6. Grand Finals: 8. All finals: 16 wins, 8 losses.

Five premierships in six years at Melbourne from 1955 confirmed his status as a legend of the game. Chosen as coach of the AFL's team of the century and best-afield in the grand final wins a medal in his name.

Australian Associated Press