Laidley keeps Port from going stale - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Laidley keeps Port from going stale

By Daniel Brettig 24/03/2010 11:17:22 AM Comments (0)

Port Adelaide coach Mark Williams admits Dean Laidley has been able to "mentor and challenge" the Power's coaching staff in ways that he hasn't.

The Power enter this season after two years of performances that have varied between mediocre and inept, and Laidley's addition to the coaching box is seen as a potential catalyst for a turnaround.

After being distracted last year by whether he would be offered a new contract by Port's board, Williams said the off-season had been about removing any semblance of "stale" from the Alberton club.

"You like to think you get better every year, whether it is Sir Alex Ferguson or whoever, time marches on but they still can achieve and there's no reason why you can't," Williams told AAP.

"Putting new people, new challenges, new innovation around you, I think it is essential and you can't let an environment go stale."

Port are attempting to do as much as possible on a tighter budget than that available to their AFL rivals, and Laidley's ability to do that as senior coach at North Melbourne over a number of years was a key to him being chased.

Pointedly, Williams said he had also been keen to tap into the spirit shown by Laidley-coached teams, in contrast to a Port Adelaide side that let far too many losses blow out to unsightly margins last year.

Fellow assistants Matthew Primus, Adam Kingsley and Jason Cripps have benefited from another experienced hand at the helm, with Laidley's view of football able to challenge them and Williams in new ways.

"Probably a pre-requisite for him being here was to understand his background is being able to make the best out of the least if you like, and it is a little similar (at Port)," said Williams.

"Also the spirit and the effort that his teams have played with, that would be nice to try to bring over as well, so with all of those things it is a nice fit.

"He's learned a lot from the coaches we have, and he respects them, but at the same time he mentors them and challenges them in ways that I haven't, so that's great for their development as well."

Williams and Laidley live about a kilometre from each other and their mutual respect has the potential to grow into the sort of fertile tactical relationship Williams once enjoyed with Phil Walsh, now at West Coast.

"(Rival) coaches kind of pass each other in the corridor, but Dean and I have stopped and talked a bit as well," Williams said.

"So we had a mutual respect for each other already and that continues to build, the more I know of him and his family and background, he's a very genuine person who is here for all the right reasons.

"He is acclaimed as worthwhile but in the group we feel he's worthwhile as well.

"You can have an outside public persona that 'oh yeah it's great', but it is great."

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