MYSTERY surrounds the sudden axing of Hamilton Kangaroos coach Jake Myles.
Club officials yesterday announced highly-rated mentor Mick Edmonds would replace Myles at the helm of the newly-merged Hampden league club.
Chairman Paul Block released a statement confirming the change, saying the decision was “in the best interests of the new club”.
Myles would not comment, while Edmonds failed to return calls.
Myles coached Hamilton Imperials in 2012 and won the right to lead the Hamilton Kangaroos — formed after a merger between Imperials and Hamilton in 2012.
The decision to appoint a coach with ties to either former club came as a surprise to football followers, who believed the Kangaroos would settle for an outsider.
Block did not reveal the specific reasons behind Myles’ axing and the rumour mill was rife with speculation.
A source suggested Myles was sacked because he had breached the trust of the board, which stipulated “pretty much any mistake, any stuff up, you’re out of here”.
Block said Myles was in an “impossible position” as former coach of Imperials because of the “intense scrutiny, public passion and emotions” of the merger.
“This new entity has created huge interest and much emotional debate in the town of Hamilton and the surrounding community,” he said.
“To place Jake in the position of senior coach and ambassador for the new club at this stage of his footballing career is unfair and unsustainable.”
A senior player told The Standard the players were aware of the reasons behind the sacking.
He said it was not for him to reveal the reasons, but said rumours floating around Hamilton were untrue.
The player was uncertain if he would have sacked Myles had he been a board member.
“I’m a mate with him so I don’t know, it’s hard,” he said.
“I’m here to represent the new club, they’ve got to take a fair stand on the values of the players and committee.”
“I’m still good mates with Jake. I’m hoping he sticks around and plays but it’d be a fairly large ask.”
The player said suggestions the club was in crisis were ridiculous.
“It’s not a positive thing but we’ve got a huge amount of numbers on the track,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of recruits from outside and people coming back to the club.
“And there are kids wanting to try themselves out.
“Both sides (Hamilton and Imperials) were young — even the older blokes are only 26, 27, that in football is when they’re mature.
“There’s a good mix of numbers from both sides. ”
Edmonds is a two-time Hamilton Imperials premiership coach, having led the club to Western Border league flags in 1993 and 1995.
He also played at Warrnambool, SANFL clubs Norwood and West Torrens and VFL club North Ballarat.
Football followers were unanimous in saying Edmonds was “well respected” and perfect for the job.
Block also declared his faith in the new coach.
“Mick Edmonds is without doubt the most highly credentialed football identity to come from this region in the past 25 years,” he said.
“He will have an amazing impact on the development of our young team and help us to build a strong Kangaroos brand.”