South gets its man with Holland to coach in recruiting coup

SOUTH Bendigo has taken the first step in what it plans to be a re-emergence in the Bendigo Bowls Division.

ALL SMILES: South Bendigo head of recruiting Rob Clohesy, new coach Brad Holland and club director John Dixon. Holland joins South Bendigo after playing the past seven years at Bendigo East. Picture: LUKE WEST

ALL SMILES: South Bendigo head of recruiting Rob Clohesy, new coach Brad Holland and club director John Dixon. Holland joins South Bendigo after playing the past seven years at Bendigo East. Picture: LUKE WEST

South has appointed one of the competition’s premier bowlers as its new coach, with Brad Holland crossing from Bendigo East.

With the appointment, Holland leaves the reigning premiers for the club that claimed last season’s wooden-spoon, but that’s a challenge he is excited by.

“There’s a lot of good people and it’s obviously a great challenge to try to bring the club up,” Holland said.

“You’ve got to start with the basics and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do. Once you get the basics right and the systems in place you can start to make improvements.

“The games we had at Bendigo East against South Bendigo over the past couple of years have generally been reasonably competitive, so with a few tweaks, hopefully, we can start to bridge the gap.”

Holland – who has signed for three years – has been a skipper at Bendigo East for the past seven seasons, during which he played in four premierships.

His goal is to transfer the winning culture of Bendigo East to South Bendigo – a club that won its last division one premiership in 1994.

As well as securing Holland – who was last season’s leading BBD skipper – South Bendigo has also picked up Liam Crapper, who is returning to bowls after a season on the cricket field with Spring Gully.

Crapper is a former division one skipper at Bendigo East and Strathfieldsaye.

South Bendigo director John Dixon said the club – which has won just seven of 42 games since returning to division one three seasons ago –  was determined to shrug off its tag as battlers.

“We wanted someone who had a proven track record and Brad was the one we targeted,” Dixon said.

“We have to change something here… we’ve been languishing at the bottom end of the ladder for the past three years, which is no good for the morale of the club, so we need to do something to turn the culture around and get that winning feeling again.

“We’ve had it here in the past and know what it’s like and we want to get that back again. We’ve got a lot going right for us in terms of good greens, a good clubhouse and good membership, but we need to get a bit of success.”

Meanwhile, it has been a traumatic past week for South Bendigo following the death of Noel Ramage, who drowned while crabbing near Darwin last Tuesday.

Ramage had been a member at South Bendigo for the past three seasons.

“Noel was a great worker who would do anything for us. It has certainly shocked and saddened the club,” South’s Rob Clohesy said.