SOUTH Bendigo Football Netball Club is taking a more professional approach to the way it operates in a bid to secure the long-term future of the club.
For the first time, the Bloods have employed two part-time employees to implement a business and football strategy that will help develop the club.
Former player and president Mal Balnaves has been employed as the club’s general manager, while senior coach Rick Coburn will take on a football development officer and coaching mentor role.
Coburn, a teacher by profession, is looking forward to his extended role with the Bloods.
“It’s all about making sure South Bendigo is strong for the next 20 to 30 years and beyond,’’ Coburn said.
“We’ll be going back to basics from under-9s all the way through and building a culture that the whole club will follow.”
One of Coburn’s main goals will be to strengthen the Bloods’ junior structure.
“The under-10s and under-12s are flourishing, but we’ve had a hole in the under-16s in the past few years, which has had consequences in the under-18s,’’ Coburn said.
“We want to make sure the club develops and we want young footballers to develop as people.
“Football clubs are such a great cultural development for young people. It’s not just about football skills... there’s health and fitness and those sort of things as well.
“We plan to link South Bendigo with several schools and other sporting clubs.”
Balnaves said Coburn’s experience with developing juniors made him the ideal person to take on the new position.
“With Rick’s background in teaching and football and his passion for development, we see him as the perfect person to organise this program,’’ Balnaves said.
“South Bendigo is one club – there are no juniors and seniors – and we try to do everything as a group.
“Not only will Rick’s role be about building our junior program, it will include mentoring our junior football coaches and our netball coaches.”
Balnaves’ general manager’s role started in January and he has set about securing South’s financial future.
“Off the field we’re doing a lot of things behind the scenes to strengthen the business side of the club,’’ he said.
“South Bendigo 20 years ago played in six grand finals in seven years. That was on the back of a strong structure. We want to mimic that again. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re working hard to put everything in place.”
South Bendigo is looking for an under-18 coach for 2013. For more details about the position, phone Mal Balnaves on 0409 434 760.