Football's coaching landscape undergoing major change in region

BEN Lavars (Maryborough), Wayne Mitrovic (Maiden Gully YCW), Corbin Fleming (Marong), Andy Grant (Mitiamo, pictured) and Matt Dillon (North Bendigo) are the latest pieces to fit into the local football coaching jigsaw puzzle.

And it’s a jigsaw puzzle that in the space of just over 18 months will be looking significantly different in round one, 2018, to the end of 2016.

The winds of change have swept through the coaching ranks in the Bendigo, Heathcote District and Loddon Valley leagues to the extent that when next season kicks off, only six of the 28 clubs across those competitions will have coaches who had also been at the helm just two seasons earlier in 2016.

Those six are Luke Beattie (Kyneton), Brady Childs (South Bendigo), Nick Knight (Colbinabbin), Greg Gadsden (Bears Lagoon-Serpentine), Anthony Dennis (Calivil United) and Brad Fawcett (Pyramid Hill).

The coaching merry-go-round swings every year, such is football’s cyclical nature, but it’s certainly swung that bit faster over the past 12 months, and in particular since the end of the 2017 season just gone by.

Next year 14 – that’s half – of the Bendigo, Heathcote District and Loddon Valley league clubs will have new coaches – Gisborne (Clinton Young), Maryborough (Lavars), Sandhurst (Andrew Collins), Strathfieldsaye (Troy Coates), Huntly (Denis Grinton), Leitchville-Gunbower (Michael Pilcher), LBU (Kahl Oliver), Mount Pleasant (Darren Walsh), North Bendigo (Dillon), Bridgewater (no announcement), Marong (Fleming), Mitiamo (Grant), Maiden Gully YCW (Mitrovic) and Newbridge (Brad Comer), while Inglewood co-coach of 2017 Jon Starr has stood down.

Of the 15 coaches from this year no longer at the helm, only Darryl Wilson’s seven-year tenure at Strathfieldsaye was for more than four years, which no doubt speaks to the increasingly demanding role it is becoming.