The two teams he coached, the Swans and Demons, meet in Friday night’s blockbuster clash at the MCG and are proof the rarely used practice can work.
John Longmire has coached the Swans to three grand finals and one premiership in his six-and-half seasons in charge after Roos departed.
Simon Goodwin hasn’t missed a beat since taking over the reins from Roos at the end of last year with the Demons sitting fifth on the ladder.
“I’m staggered transitioning coaches hasn’t really caught on,” Roos said.
“I have spoken to other clubs about it. It was a great grounding for Horse (Longmire) and for Goody. There was a lot of hands on stuff in Simon’s second year. It allows an assistant coach to coach which doesn’t happen. It also gives the future senior coach the chance to build relationships with senior players.
“Simon got the chance to build relationships with (Jack) Viney, (Jesse) Hogan and (Dom) Tyson. Horse got to do the same with Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh.”
The Swans announced their succession plan in August 2009, allowing Roos and Longmire to work together in the 2010 season before passing the baton for 2011.
Longmire won a flag the following year.
The Demons also announced Goodwin as Roos’ successor two years out from the handover.
But transitioning coaches into the job isn’t for everybody and every club — so far it’s backfired at Collingwood with Nathan Buckley succeeding Mick Malthouse.
The departing party must be willing to go as Roos was on both occasions at Sydney and Melbourne.
Friday night’s match will be an intriguing one, with both sides playing a similar style of football.
The Swans won last Friday night from 19 points down against Essendon with less than five minutes on the clock while Melbourne came back from 17 points down against West Coast.
“There are three teams who are very similar in style: Sydney, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs,” Roos said.
“Sydney has had success and John has continued with his focus on contested ball and getting numbers to the contest. The Bulldogs just crept ahead of the Swans last year with numbers to the footy, hardness and physicality.
“It’s inside out football. Teams that start on the inside and want to be hard and tough at the ball, initially (at Melbourne) it was about contested ball and defence, that was the first pillar. You take those ingredients and then you add your offence as your third layer. The last pre-season I was there was the first one we were really able to work on all three. Goody has been there the last three as was Horse with me. There are enormous similarities between the two teams.”
With such strong connections to both teams Friday night will be like Roos watching his sons, Dylan and Tyler, playing against each other.
“When you go to any footy club you make emotional attachments,” Roos said.
“For me it was with Fitzroy initially and then the Swans and they stay with you. I have had a lot to do with Callum Mills and Isaac Heeney and John Blakey and Horse.
Now I’m very attached to Melbourne. The lack of success is part of it and I’m sympathetic to their plight. It’s exciting for Melbourne, they’ve been kicked for so long. I’m happy for Jack Watts and Nathan Jones and Max Gawn. I’m going for the Demons.”
Paul Roos is exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.