Comer replaces Dillon as Newbridge coach

NEW ROLE: Brad Comer will take over the reins as coach of Newbridge.

NEW ROLE: Brad Comer will take over the reins as coach of Newbridge.

Newbridge has appointed star player Brad Comer as its new senior coach.

The Maroons decided not to reappoint coach Matt Dillon despite the club making the Loddon Valley Football Netball League preliminary final this year.

“Dills had been coach for four years and the players felt like they needed a change,’’ Newbridge president Kristian Shevlin said.

“Dills was keen to coach on, but we thought the time was right for a change.

“Dills is keen to continue coaching, so I would think he’d get a gig somewhere else.”

Matt Dillon

Matt Dillon

Dillon said he was disappointed by the decision, but understood where the club was heading.

“I wanted to have one more year, but the club decided to go down a different path and I can accept that,’’ a diplomatic Dillon said.

Dillon took the Maroons to the elimination final in his first season in 2014 before missing the finals in 2015 and 2016.

The club bounced back in 2017 to make it to the preliminary final where it lost by six goals to eventual premier Calivil United.

“Dills was huge for the club,’’ Shevlin said.

“He took over at a time when our culture was being questioned.

“Dills and our committee worked really hard to get our culture back to where we think it should sit.

“He did a good job to get us to the preliminary final, but we just felt the time was right for a change. Four years is a long time to coach the same group of players.”

Shevlin said the Maroons were well-placed to have another tilt at the top three in 2018.

“The key for us is we need to keep hold of our players,’’ Shevlin said.

“Under the points system you can’t afford to lose five or six players. To pick up 10 or 12 players is just too hard these days.

“We’re only going to lose one player (Ash Grant) to retirement and the other players have re-committed.

“We’ll then just top-up with players Brad thinks we need.”

Comer, a BFNL premiership player with Sandhurst in 2004, has been one of the premier players in the LVFNL for the best part of a decade.

“We’re confident Brad will do a very good job,’’ Shevlin said. 

Star midfielder Jordan Gilboy has been appointed senior assistant coach, while Chris Lakey will coach the Maroons’ reserves.

“Our biggest issue the past 12 months was we had no reserves players and we had no depth,’’ Shevlin said.

“I think we had to use 69 different reserves players this year which is just ridiculous. It shows that there are players out there, but we couldn’t get them to commit.”