KYNETON shocked the Bendigo football community yesterday by appointing Brian Walsh as its new senior coach.
Walsh is one of the all-time greats of Bendigo football being the youngest winner of the Michelsen Medal, a 115-game player at VFL level with Carlton and Essendon and a triple premiership coach with Golden Square in the BFNL.
He last coached senior football in Bendigo in 2002 and appeared set for coaching retirement after unsuccessful short stints with White Hills in the HDFL and Campbells Creek in the MCDFL.
But three years as a football commentator for 101.5 Fresh FM has reignited the 61-year-old’s desire to coach.
“I’ve got the passion for coaching back,’’ Walsh said yesterday.
“The last three years I’ve been working on radio covering the footy and that’s helped me get the passion for coaching again.
“I’ve seen a lot of Bendigo footy in the past three years and I have no doubt that I can still coach as well as anyone.
“I know Kyneton is coming from a long way back, but I’m looking forward to it.”
The Tigers haven’t played in finals since 2003 and have been the whipping boys of Bendigo football in recent seasons. They showed significant improvement this year under co-coaches Derrick Filo and Nathan Thompson, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Kyneton president Anthony O’Connor is confident Walsh is the right man to lead Kyneton back into the finals.
“Originally we were after a playing-coach, but things just didn’t work out that way,’’ O’Connor said.
“We’d spoken to four or five prospective coaches and out of the blue Walshy rang up.
“Out of all the candidates he was the one that the club wanted for next year. We’re not concerned that Brian has been out of footy for a while. He’s watched a lot of footy and he knows footy inside out.
“We’re excited about the future under Brian.”
Thompson, who Walsh coached at the Bendigo Pioneers in the mid-1990’s, remains at the club as a player.
“The signs are there that the club is on the right track,’’ Walsh said.
“If we can get Thommo on the park for 12 or 13 games that would be great.
“We’ve got a good group of players who have now played 30 or 40 senior games and they’ll be further improved next year.
“We need to pick up some guys with bigger bodies to help out that younger group.
“If we can pick up three or four players the club will improve even more.”
The Tigers have already signed exciting duo Corey and Dion Lawson from Trentham, while Jayden Dole, Zac Boyer, Michael O’Brien and Brent Dryden are the only senior players who have left the club.
“We will be playing an attacking style of footy,’’ Walsh said.
“I’ve always coached that way. I don’t care how many goals the opposition kicks as long as we kick more.”
The Tigers start training under Walsh next Monday night.