Coaching mastermind- Mark Williams and his effect on the 2004 Port Adelaide side .

This was a topic put forward to me by several Port Adelaide fans a couple of weeks ago. Looking at Mark Williams’s time as Port Adelaide’s coach and seeing exactly who went on to be a coach in the AFL system simply because of him.

With the 2004 premiership photo hanging in the office, it gave me a chance to look at that team, the coaching group from that year and see who went on and made a name for themselves in a coaching capacity in the AFL.

A quick skim through and three out of Williams’s five coaching group went on to be senior AFL coaches.

Alistair Clarkson

Easily the most decorated coach of the group and one of the all-time greats. Clarkson was an assistant coach/midfield coach in 2004 and no doubt Choco passed on some very credible knowledge to the Hawthorn legend. Clarkson masterminded the Hawks period of dominance and won three consecutive premierships between 2013,2014 and 2015.

Dean Bailey

Bailey joined the Port Adelaide coaching group as an assistant coach in 2002 and more than played his part in the years of success Port had between 2002 and 2004. In 2007 he was appointed senior coach of Melbourne during their most turbulent time. During his time with the Dees (2008-2011) Bailey win just 22 games, losing 59 and drawing two.

Phil Walsh

Walsh moved to Port Adelaide in 1999 to be an assistant coach under Mark Williams and was still the assistant in 2004 when Port won the premiership. That same year he was awarded the Assistant Coach of the Year by the AFL Coaches Association. In 2001, he took charge of the Power in Round 22 after Williams took a leave of absence after his father Fos had passed away.

Unfortunately, Walsh is mostly remembered for his time with the Adelaide Crows and the event the shook the entire football world in 2015 when he lost his life.

So that takes care of the coaching panel under Williams and that alone is impressive but when you look at the players he coached that have gone on to become coaches themselves, it is eye-opening.

Jarrad Schofield

Took charge of WAFL side Subiaco in 2013 and led them to the premiership just a year later. Schofield then led Subiaco to the minor premiership in 2015 as well as the premiership. In 2018 he took Subiaco to an undefeated season en route to another Grand Final win. After his time in the west, Jarrod would then join Port in 2019 as an assistant coach where he still is today.

Damien Hardwick

Appointed Richmond senior coach in 2009 and for the first eight or so years, it was rather uneventful as the Tigers were made infamous by their ability to consistently finish ninth.

However in 2017 the tables turned, and Hardwick won his first AFL premiership as a coach. Hardwick then led the Tigers to the preliminary final in 2018 where they lost to Collingwood but a year later they were back at the big dance and thumped GWS to claim their second flag in three years.

Hardwick then followed 2019 up with another premiership, Richmond’s third in four years as he turned them into a juggernaut of the competition. His side is still regarded as one of the favourites for the 2021 title.

Brett Montgomery

After coming over from the Western Bulldogs, Montgomery was a critical part of Port’s 2004 premiership win and in 2018 returned to the club as an assistant coach after being an assistant at the Bulldogs since 2010. He is now an integral part of Ken Hinkley’s coaching group as Port look to go one step further than last season.

Stuart Dew

Was a player from 1997 through to 2006 with Port before he switched to Hawthorn where he won another premiership. In 2010 he was named as an assistant coach with Sydney until 2017 where he took the reigns of Gold Coast and has transformed them into a much more competitive team in a short space of time.

Brendon Lade

After retiring in 2009, Lade linked up with Damien Hardwick at Richmond to be the ruck coach. He spent seven years at Tigerland before moving to Port in 2017 (poor timing Brendon). However, he only lasted one year with Port before crossing to St. Kilda as an assistant coach.

Adam Kingsley

Kingsley became an assistant at Port Adelaide in 2007, a position he held until 2010 where he joined St. Kilda and was there for nine years until 2019 when he linked up with former teammate Damien Hardwick at Richmond and was part of the coaching group to bring another premiership to Tigerland.

Chad Cornes

“Studley” retired in 2012 with the Giants and stayed on as a backline coach from 2013 to 2015. Chad was then named as the Port Adelaide Magpies coach in 2015 and took them to a Grand Final appearance. Currently, a developmental coach for Port’s young forwards after he was elevated in 2017.

Matthew Primus

Primus was an assistant coach to Mark Williams from 2005 to 2010 when he was appointed senior coach of the Power. Matt took Port through without a doubt its darkest days as a club when no other coach wanted the job.

He was in charge at Port from 2010 to 2012 and only won 13 of his 47 matches as he simply did not have the players, nor the backing of the club. He was relieved of his duties in round 19 of the 2012 season after a 34-point loss to GWS. Currently, an assistant coach for the Gold Coast Suns and has been since 2013.

Williams helped produced his fair share of senior coaches.

It is quite remarkable when you look at it. The effect that Choco had on several coaches and players as they have all gone on their journey as coaches. In all, six have become AFL senior coaches and two of them still are in Hardwick and Dew while the others are very credible assistants in the AFL system.

What is Williams’s legacy as a coach among the Port Adelaide faithful? He is Port’s only premiership-winning coach and he has helped produce six senior coaches and a handful of assistants. For me, he is tied with John Cahill as Port’s best, and the premiership win certainly holds weight when talking about the best ever.

If you want any further indications of what a great coach he is and what he can offer, look no further than what he is currently doing for the Demons.

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