GOLDEN Square’s premiership-winning coach Mark Lloyd has decided he will not tackle the role in the Bendigo Football League next year.
Lloyd capped his senior coaching debut by leading the Bulldogs to a fourth consecutive grand final victory last month.
Increasing family and work commitments meant the 29-year-old made the “tough call” to not coach, but he will stay on as a player for the blue and gold.
Two of his biggest fans, wife Rebecca and son, Alfie, who is eight weeks old today, were at the QEO as Square won the grand final against Gisborne by three points.
“It’s a busy time at work, and also having a young family,” said the architectural draftsman at Bendigo firm OTS Architecture.
“Being senior coach was really challenging and takes up a lot of time,” said Lloyd.
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The previous four years he was an assistant coach to Mark Adamson and then Nick Carter.
“I can’t thank the club enough for giving me the opportunity to coach the senior team. I learnt a lot during the season, and have not given up the idea of coaching again in the future,” said Lloyd.
In a season where he battled to overcome a hamstring injury, Lloyd said he may only have another year or two as a player.
He praised the support of assistant coaches Simon Rosa and Grant Weeks, Jason Griffin who was chairman of selectors early in the season before Luke Rosa took on the role, as well as Shawn McCormick and Dean Strauch for their work during the week and on matchday.
Lloyd said there had been many highs and a couple of lows in a testing season.
“A highlight was the way we bounced back after a big loss (61 points) at Gisborne in round eight,” he recalled.
“We had a team meeting at 6am on the Monday after that game and spoke a lot about the standards we wanted to reach, but were not.
“At the time we had a 5-3 record and were fifth on the ladder.
“The way all the team responded after that meeting was fantastic,” he said of the unbeaten run of 12 matches, which included a draw with Gisborne on Square’s turf at MyJet Oval.
As it prepares for a new season, Square already has captain and inspirational onballer Simon Rosa, gun full-forward Grant Weeks and key defender Travis Baird already signed up.
“From a coaching perspective a high of the season was having 10 players from our under-18s team play senior football,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd joined Golden Square from Kerang in the 2003 season. With the exception of a one-season stint at North Shore in 2007, Lloyd has played an integral role in the Bulldogs run.
He was captain of the 2010 premiership team, co-captain in 2011, and earned the Nalder Medal for best afield in the 2011 grand final.
He has played in the past four premiership victories and was in the runner-up teams in 2006 and ’08 and is determined his club continues to be the Bendigo FNL’s top dog.