AFL coach stands down with immediate effect following blood cancer diagnosis

AFL coach stands down with immediate effect following shattering blood cancer diagnosis: ‘We’re all 100 per cent behind him’

Essendon have confirmed that assistant coach Dale Tapping has stood down from his post to concentrate on his health.

The veteran coach, 58, is battling blood cancer having been diagnosed with myeloma in March of this year. He is married with two children. 

Tapping has been undertaking weekly treatments while still keeping up his job, but now the AFL club says his sole focus will be on the next phase of his scheduled treatments. 

‘While Tapping’s treatment has progressed well over the first stage, the assistant coach has decided to focus fully on his health over the coming months,’ Essendon said in a statement.

The club added that ‘all players, staff and board members were 100 per cent behind him’ and vowed to support Tapping’s family in the months to come. 

Dale Tapping will step away from the Essendon Football Club after his cancer diagnosis

Earlier this year, an emotional Tapping opened up on the moment he told his kids of his devastating cancer diagnosis.

‘It was a weird 20-minute drive home,’ he told Essendon’s official club podcast. 

‘I spoke to my wife, had a chat – how do we manage the kids? Initially we thought, ‘Let’s get all the information and then tell them, so they know’.

‘And that was our plan for the first couple of days, but then some family knew, and I started to get a couple of calls … (saying), ‘Are you OK?’

‘Then a mate of mine rang me from the other side of (town) … a guy I played footy with, a really close mate, and he rang me and he goes, ‘How are you going? I’ve heard you’re crook’. So, I don’t know how it got to (him).’

At that point he realised he had to tell his children (17-year-old Summer and 14-year-old Mason).

‘I thought we’ve got to tell the kids because if Scotty knows on the other side of town, I just don’t want the kids to be down the street or out doing what they do and someone just mentions, in a good way, ‘How’s dad going? Is he alright ?’ And they go, ‘Oh, what are you talking about?’ And they find that sort of news second hand. That was difficult.

‘Talking to them, that was … I’m getting a bit emotional now … That’d be the hardest conversation I’ve ever had to have.

Tapping shared his experience on a podcast

The veteran coach says telling his kids was the hardest thing he has had to do

Tapping relived the heartbreaking moment he told his kids he has cancer earlier this year

‘Talking to them was really difficult and sharing that (news) because I didn’t have all the information. And I was still trying to understand it in my own mind – or we were, not (just) me. That was really tough.

‘My young fella, he didn’t say a word for about three hours. He just sort of went off to his room and then he came out … sat on the couch, sat next to us, and he was sort of there, but he didn’t want to talk about it.

‘Summer, my daughter, was a lot more outwardly emotional because she was all over it. She knew what that meant to a certain point.

‘It was a tough conversation.’