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Mitchell's future at Carlton a hot topic

By Roger Vaughan 07/09/2006 09:21:06 PM Comments (0)

The future of Carlton assistant Barry Mitchell will be a hot topic on Friday when coach Denis Pagan meets with the AFL club's president Graham Smorgon.

Mitchell had support at board level this week to take over from Pagan and made a presentation to the directors on Wednesday.

That was only hours before the Blues decided to honour the last two years of Pagan's contract.

While Pagan won that fight, the club confirmed on Thursday it had sacked his long-time lieutenants, assistant coach Tony Elshaug and strength and conditioning coach Peter Mulkearns.

Pagan brought Elshaug and Mulkearns with him when he joined Carlton from the Kangaroos at the end of 2002.

Carlton's week from hell continued with the news that club great Stephen Silvagni is now unlikely to join the coaching staff.

"If he wants to come back and assist the club, he would be welcome to do that in any role, at any time," club chief executive Michael Malouf told Channel 10.

"But at the moment, he has indicated to me that he's not interested."

Speaking on Channel Seven, Smorgon denied the popular perception that this had been a diabolical week for the once-proud Blues.

Carlton finished bottom this season for the second year in a row and the third time in five seasons.

"People say it's been a shambles, I would actually totally reject that," Smorgon said.

He also defended the decision to let Mitchell present to the board, saying: "I wanted him to be able to meet the board and for the board to hear what he had to say - it's only a normal process.

"We spoke to a lot of different people."

Smorgon also rejected the suggestion that Mitchell could no longer work under Pagan.

"We did invite and talk to Barry Mitchell because he's a very well-respected coach," Smorgon told Fox Footy.

"It was appropriate to talk with him - I don't see that is an issue, in terms of where we're going in the future, but I will need to talk about it with Denis."

Smorgon also denied persistent speculation through this week about the makeup of the coaching staff for next season.

"No decision has been made on filling any of the (assistant coaching) positions," he said.

"No discussions have taken place with `Sos' (Silvagni), no offers have been made to him."

Also, three-time Carlton premiership coach David Parkinn admitted he was "disturbed" by events this week at the club.

He admitted some of the responsibility for the current plight had to rest with himself and former club president John Elliott.

"I would have to step back and take a little bit of criticism, Jack and I, as a lead-in to all of this," Parkin said on Fox Footy.

"There have been a series of decisions going back to the late `90s, both on and off the field, that have probably led to the club being in a situation ... that is terribly disappointing.

"The future right now doesn't look any better than it did four or five years ago, when we were at rock bottom.

"I feel guilty, because I thought we'd be able to climb out of that - we made some decisions I guess playing-wise at the end of the `90s, which allowed us to get into a grand final (1999) ... we just hung onto that window instead of building a new one."

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