Western Australia spearhead Mitchell Johnson has called on the Warriors' senior players to carry the state's youngsters through a dark period in WA cricket following Lachlan Stevens' resignation.
On another dramatic day for the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA), Stevens announced his resignation just hours before overseeing his last game, a nine-wicket loss to Victoria in the Ryobi Cup clash at the MCG.
He is likely to be replaced as coach by former Test opener Justin Langer.
Stevens' departure continues a horror period for the WACA, who oversaw a disastrous Champions League Twenty20 tour to South Africa with the Perth Scorchers amid allegations several players were inebriated at Mitchell Marsh's 21st birthday during the tournament.
As the side posted three consecutive Sheffield Shield losses, Marcus North stepped down as captain, resigning from the position for what he maintained were form reasons, while former Australia opener Shaun Marsh was axed to grade cricket, supposedly also for form issues.
Stevens, 33, only took over from current Australian coach Mickey Arthur late last year, but his departure means WA will now have had three coaches in a 12-month period to go with a change of captains and new people coming into the roles of WACA chief executive, cricket operations manager and the Cricket Australia-funded role of talent identification officer.
According to numerous reports, Langer, currently a specialist batting coach under Arthur with the Australian team, appears likely to be offered the position as WA coach.
Stevens, for his part, was a picture of diplomacy when discussing his departure, saying that before the season began he had decided to finish up with the Warriors at the end of this summer.
But when specifically asked whether some of the issues that have faced WA cricket over the last few months influenced the initial decision to finish up this year, he said: "Look, there's a lot of things happening in every organisation and every team."
Asked on <i>Fox Sports</i> whether the issues surrounding Perth's South African tour had exacerbated other problems and made it untenable for him to continue as WA and Scorchers' coach, Stevens added: "I think some things do make other issues harder.
"But we'll get through that and what we've created in the last three years is a chance for the squad to go forward and we're really proud of that.
"And, it gives the WACA an opportunity to review what goes on and how they move forward, so some really good positives out of it.
"(But) I'd made the decision a while back to not continue on at the end of the season and I think, once you think about that for a little while and you decide that that's happening, then you need to give the organisation an opportunity to move forward with someone new."
Johnson, meanwhile, was a shining light for Western Australia against the Victorians, despite figures of 0-30 not fully illustrating the quality of spell he delivered on Wednesday night.
The paceman was not part of Perth's team at the Champions League, but with the chips down, he declared he was hell bent on making sure the squad's younger members were supported through this period.
"Your coach is a pretty important part of the team," said Johnson.
"It's hard when the teams going through what they are and you've got these new guys coming in, it's very difficult to keep your head up.
"But we've got to do that as senior players, we've got to keep these guys wanting to play for their state and to do well.
"So, it's going to be a tough, tough season for sure, but, look, that's just the name of the game."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 08 November, 2012 10:15AM AEST