Eaglehawk star Greg Thomas to weigh up Bendigo Amateur Soccer League playing and coaching future

IS THIS THE END: Greg Thomas displays his silky skills to send Eaglehawk forward in last Sunday;s BASL division one grand final against Shepparton South. Picture: DARREN HOWE
IS THIS THE END: Greg Thomas displays his silky skills to send Eaglehawk forward in last Sunday;s BASL division one grand final against Shepparton South. Picture: DARREN HOWE

DUAL Eaglehawk championship coach Greg Thomas says he is yet to decide on his playing future, but hinted last Sunday’s grand final could have been his last match in the BASL.

The former Brisbane Strikers star, who led the Hawks to back-to-back Bendigo league division one championships, said he would give plenty of consideration in the off-season to weighing up his playing future.

It follows Sunday’s 2-1 extra-time loss to Shepparton South at Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve, which denied the Hawks a shot at the championship-grand final double.

“I’ve been thinking about it lately, just the injuries and the body, and the family – it’s getting a bit hard at the age of 42,” he said.

“I have to put my priorities with my family.

“I have a young fellow (Kai), who is doing well – I have my time and career at a professional level – it’s time to put something back into him.

“I’ll have a good, long hard look at it in the off-season and what I do, but I’m not going to rush into it.

“But if this is it, I can walk away pretty happy. We’ve had a very good year and won the championship.”

Thomas, who joined Eaglehawk after spending a season as playing coach of Bendigo City FC in the National Premier Leagues Victoria competition, said he would also need to decide whether he continued as coach, after leading the Hawks to back-to-back championship.

Originally from Sydney, he is easily one of the best credentialed players ever to have played in the BASL.

An earlier career stint in Hong Kong was followed by 12 years in the Queensland state league, before his arrival in Bendigo in early 2014.

The veteran turned back the clock in 2017 by sharing the golden boots award with Shepparton South star Joel Aitken.

Thomas did not back down from comments made in the week before the grand final, which called on the league to do more to stamp out unsavoury spectator behaviour, following a series of ugly off-field incidents this season.

Greg Thomas gets his head to the ball in Sunday's grand final. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Greg Thomas gets his head to the ball in Sunday's grand final. Picture: DARREN HOWE

He further urged the league to better recognise its championship winners, which he described as the pinnacle of the season, and not just grand final winners.

“It would have been nice to get a bit more recognition for our boys on winning the championship, but it didn’t happen,” Thomas said.

“We know as a group what we achieved, which is what everyone else wanted to win.

“I have to be careful what I say, after a few things were said last week, but unfortunately if they’re not, things aren’t going to happen. So I am more than happy to put me head on the line and do it for the league and the rest of the clubs.

“I just want to see the game and league improve and go forward.”

He stressed his championship comments were in no way to detract from Shepparton South’s “fantastic achievement” in winning a grand final in the club’s first year in the BASL.

“We knew the Shepparton sides were going to be tough coming in, so congratulation to Shepp South, they were too good on the day,” Thomas said.