Joey Wright during Adelaide’s final loss to Perth. Picture: Tony McDonough (AAP).
Joey Wright during Adelaide’s final loss to Perth. Picture: Tony McDonough (AAP).

Wright’s no-show as club owner declares ‘line in the sand’

COACH Joey Wright was a no-show at Adelaide's MVP dinner and he has not been interviewed as part of the club's external review as owner Grant Kelley declared a "line in the sand" moment on Saturday night.

All but confirming wholesale changes are on the way at the 36ers, Kelley said he simply could not accept missing finals for the past two NBL seasons and he would make it his mission to return Adelaide to "title town".

His comments came on the same night the club celebrated championship heroes Phil Smyth, Brett Maher and Mark Davis who were inducted into its inaugural hall of fame.

"No longer will we lose games by three points because the culture isn't strong enough," Kelley declared on stage.

Not one player from co-captain Brendan Teys to MVP Daniel Johnson, made personal reference to Wright - who has coached the club for the past seven seasons - when they accepted various awards at the end-of-season dinner at the Entertainment Centre.

But they spoke about how tough the year had been and how they were hungry to come back next season and make up for the disappointment.

 

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Kelley said he hoped his "line in the sand" reference was similar to the calls made by the Adelaide Crows at the end of 1996 when they installed Malcolm Blight as coach and he delivered back-to-back premierships.

Almost every player and staff member was interviewed by an independent three-person panel this week which was led by club legends Brett Maher, Rupert Sapwell and football administrator Rob Snowdon.

The findings of the external review are expected to be delivered this week when Wright's departure from the club after his 500th career game as coach is set to be officially announced.

During the week, Wright told SEN radio that he expected to know his fate before Saturday night's MVP dinner, but it did not eventuate and he hasn't spoken to his players about his future.

"It's something we talked about three or four weeks ago and we left it at that," Wright said.

"After the (final) game (against Perth) was more about that particular game, I don't want anything to do with me to be bigger than what's going on with them. We lost a game that night and it was hurting enough for some.

"You have professionalism and to me if you sign up to do something - I showed up every single day and decided to be a professional - and that's what I ask out of anybody who works for me no matter what the circumstances are.

"We have to have that supported throughout the organisation and if that is, you create an environment where success is there no matter what the circumstances.

"That's what we were able to do for a lot of years with a lot of things going on in the background ... last year we were not able to replicate that.

"As a group we finished 12-16, three games away from the fourth placed team, better attitudes and harder work would have maybe curbed that."

Wright conceded his chances of coaching in the NBL again were "pretty thin" and he would likely look to the US, Europe or Asia if he continues coaching after Adelaide.


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