Ben Rutten has coached his final match with Essendon, as the Bombers confirm his sacking following today’s board meeting.
- Rutten was informed of the club’s decision following a board meeting
- His final match in charge was Saturday night’s 66-point loss to Richmond
- The Bombers finished in 15th place on the ladder in Rutten’s second season as coach
Rutten’s future had been under a cloud for much of the past week following the Bombers’ attempt to snare Alastair Clarkson as head coach.
Clarkson signed with North Melbourne, but the Bombers’ failed bid to recruit the four-time premiership coach left Rutten’s position essentially untenable.
Bombers president David Barham informed Rutten of the decision to terminate his contract earlier today.
Rutten was contracted through until the end of the 2023 season.
“We know this has been an incredibly tough time for Ben and his family, and broadly, our whole club,” Barham said in a club statement.
“We wish to thank Ben, as well as wife Kylie and children Jack and Bernie for their contribution to the Essendon Football Club.
“Ben’s commitment and care for this playing group was second to none, and we thank him for his dedication to what we recognise is an all-consuming role as senior coach.
“The unfortunate reality is, at various stages this season, we have simply been uncompetitive.
“And while we acknowledge that we have an emerging playing list, we were compelled to make the decision.
“Our members and supporters do, and should, expect better from a proud football club. We appreciate this has been a difficult chapter for our club.”
Rutten’s final match in charge was Saturday night’s 66-point loss to Richmond at the MCG.
He fronted the media after the match, saying he wanted to continue as Bombers coach.
“I am committed to coaching this footy club, that is what I signed up for,” Rutten said.
“I did not put my hand up to coach this club because I thought it would be easy, I did because I thought I could make a difference.
“I signed up and committed to give my service to the Essendon Football Club and its supporters, its members and the players.
“That is what I want to do, I want to see it through.”
The Bombers endured a dismal season, winning just seven matches and finishing 15th on the ladder.
They reached the finals last season in Rutten’s first year as head coach.
Barham said the Bombers would soon begin the process of appointing a new coach for the 2023 season.
“We will thoroughly and diligently consider our next steps and in due course, will communicate the process of our next senior coach appointment,” he said.