LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER has wasted little time in appointing its replacement for outgoing premiership coach Matt Hawken.
With Hawken stepping down after three years at the helm of the Bombers, Michael Pilcher has been appointed his successor.
However, he was forced to watch the Bombers’ premiership win over North Bendigo earlier this month from the sidelines after suffering compartment syndrome following a corked thigh.
“Matt has certainly left big shoes to fill and I’m grateful to him for helping me develop as a player and coach over the past 12 months,” Pilcher said on Wednesday.
“I’m confident that not only will our club continue to develop and build on the year that we have had, but we’ll continue to give our younger players every opportunity to succeed at the next level. I’m really looking forward to working hard to ensure we stay at the top of the competition in 2018.”
Pilcher last week had 42 staples removed from his injured leg and has resumed normal walking.
Hawken steps down from the coaching role with a sense of contentment after the Bombers were finally able to break through for their first premiership since 1995.
The Bombers had lost the 2015 and 2016 grand finals to North Bendigo, but were too good for the Bulldogs this year in winning the flag by 26 points to cap an 18-1 season.
Hawken, who previously coached the Bombers’ senior team from 2003 to 2009, ends his second stint in charge with a 49-6 record from his three seasons.
“It would have been really disappointing through this last stretch to have been such a dominant side and not be able to win a premiership,” Hawken said.
“We only lost six games and two of them were grand finals.
“To have such a hard-working group of players that is mostly based on local talent with a sprinkling of quality recruits, it would have been a bit of a travesty not to get the result we did the other week.”
As well as the senior flag, the Bombers have also won the past two under-17 premierships.
The Bombers’ presentation night last Saturday included Matt Ladson winning the senior best and fairest.