RICK Ladson is the new Bendigo Football Netball League inter-league coach.
The Hawthorn premiership defender and Golden Square premiership coach replaces Jeff Brennan as inter-league coach.
"Even as a kid I loved inter-league footy, so to get the chance to coach the BFNL at inter-league level is a great honour,'' Ladson said on Friday.
"I played in the inter-league game against Ballarat and, even though we didn't get the result we wanted, it was a great experience.
"I'm not coaching Golden Square this year and I was keen to keep my hand in with a little bit of coaching, so the inter-league role is the perfect opportunity for me."
Much has been made of the high profile departures from the BFNL in the off-season, but Ladson is adamant the league will have a strong team for the May 24 clash with Gippsland.
"We want to get Bendigo footy back up to the top of the country Victoria rankings,'' he said.
"I've been really impressed with what I've seen of the young players coming into senior footy in the past 12 months.
"Those young guys will get their chance and there is some quality recruits new to the league this year as well that will fit in nicely to inter-league footy."
Ladson is still to determine who will join him on the BFNL coaching panel.
“We are delighted to have Rick as our senior Workforce XS inter-league coach,'' AFL Central Victoria Regional Operations Manager Justin Abrams said.
"He brings a wealth of experience and professionalism to the role.
"We are striving to put the gloss back into our inter-league program and value our players, support staff, partners and showcase the BFNL throughout Victoria as a strong, vibrant and progressive league.
"Rick will assist in bringing an enthusiasm to represent the BFNL and he shares the vision of what we are trying to achieve as a collective."
Bendigo plays Gippsland on Saturday, May 24 at the QEO.
Ladson is the second former AFL star to be appointed as an inter-league coach this week.
Former Carlton and Brisbane full-forward Brendan Fevola will coach the Ovens and Murray Football League this year.