Mick Malthouse could be just two matches from ending his storied AFL coaching career after Carlton announced it would bring forward a decision on his future.
In a sharp departure from the club’s previous plan, on Monday Blues president Mark LoGiudice said Malthouse’s position would be assessed during the club’s bye round in a fortnight’s time.
The new timeline gives Malthouse two matches to turn around the club’s fortunes, against Sydney and Adelaide.
LoGiudice said rampant speculation around Malthouse’s position necessitated the change of heart.
As recently as two weeks ago, LoGiudice said the veteran coach was safe until the end of the season, when his contract expires.
But two weeks and two heavy defeats later, to Greater Western Sydney by 78 points and Geelong by 77, LoGiudice outlined the change of plan in an email to club members.
“Our CEO, Steven Trigg and myself met with Mick Malthouse (on Monday), and agreed that in the best interests of the club, we would make a decision on the future direction of our senior coaching position in the week of the bye, which is round 11,” he said.
“Mick supports our revised timeline and has again committed to stay the course.
“We are very mindful of the speculation surrounding the senior coaching role and the impact it is having.
“Out of care for all concerned we believe it is best to make a decision sooner than previously indicated and that the bye round represents an appropriate time.”
The Blues sit bottom of the AFL ladder with just one win from eight games.
It is Carlton’s worst start to a season since 2007, when they finished second bottom, and the worst opening eight games of Malthouse’s 30 seasons as a senior coach.
LoGiudice called the season a “challenging time”, saying he shared members’ pain over the poor performances.
He said Carlton would not be looking for a “quick fix” when deciding whether to extend Malthouse’s tenure or seek a new direction.
“We will take the next few weeks to review the future of the Senior Coach position before making an informed and rational decision to take Carlton forward,” LoGiudice said.
“Our approach to this very important decision will be methodical and considered.
“This is about making the right decision the right way, in an orderly manner that is right for Carlton.”
Melbourne coach Paul Roos said huge interest in Malthouse’s future had forced the board’s hand.
“Once the media jumps on something it becomes an ongoing story,” he told Fox Footy.
“There’s so much pressure that goes on the footy club.
“We see it most years and it’s very hard for the board not to act.”