GISBORNE coach Clinton Young is relishing the opportunity to pass his experience that includes reaching the pinnacle in the AFL onto his young playing group.
Having been an assistant at the Bulldogs last year, Young has taken on the reins as senior coach of Gisborne as the club continues its rebuild in the Bendigo league.
Young previously played 137 AFL games for Hawthorn and Collingwood between 2005 and 2014 and was a member of the Hawks’ 2008 premiership team.
The 31-year-old has taken over as Bulldogs coach after Brad Spear’s two-year stint.
“I’m enjoying sharing my experience with the boys and still playing, I’ll be able to impart that on-field as well,” Young said on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to making sure we really click as a team and play a good brand of team footy.
“We’ve got to put the hard yards in, but I’m sure we’ll get some good reward for it.
READ MORE – CLINTON YOUNG APPOINTED NEW COACH OF GISBORNE
“Seeing what the club has gone through over the past few years in losing a core group of players, the club has been building again and with a lot of young players coming through, I’m aiming to impart as much experience as I can on them.”
In 2016 the Bulldogs fielded one of the youngest teams in the club’s history that won three games.
Last year the Bulldogs doubled their wins tally to six, but were unable to beat any of the teams that finished above them – although they went within a kick of upsetting eventual premier Strathfieldsaye early in the season.
Importantly in a rebuild the Bulldogs have consolidated their list, with their only departure Jack Reaper, who is heading overseas.
The Bulldogs have signed Footscray VFL-listed Ross Celano as an aligned player, and also have Matt Goodyear (Footscray) and ruckman Darrean Wyatt (Frankston) remaining as aligned VFL players.
The Bulldogs also have Jack James returning to the club after a stint in the VFL with Coburg.
“He has had a couple of injury-plagued years, so he’s hoping to get his body right and play some good senior footy,” Young said.
“He’s played a lot of junior footy at the club and is a bit of a utility, so it’s great we’ll have him back.”
James played one senior game with the Bulldogs in 2015 while he was in the Calder Cannons squad and starred in what was a loss to Sandhurst at the QEO.
Young also indicated veteran Anthony Belcher – a multiple premiership player with the Bulldogs and member of the club’s 2000-09 Team of the Decade – was considering a return.
“He has done a bit of the pre-season and has given me every impression he’s going to play again, so we will see how he goes,” Young said.
Gisborne’s first game of the season will be a home clash against Kangaroo Flat on Saturday, April 14.
Last year’s grand finalists – Strathfieldsaye and Eaglehawk – then await in rounds two and three.
GISBORNE – 2017 END-OF-SEASON REVIEW
Record – 6-12, 87%
Avg. for/against – 84/97
Attack ranking – 7th
Defence ranking – 6th
Quarters won – 27 of 72
Players used – 41
Avg. player points – 28.8
Comparison to last year –
+3 wins, +43 points
(attack: +24, defence: +19)
Club best top five:
Daniel Weaver – 40
Jarrad Lynch – 36
Trent Crosbie – 30
Eamon McKenna – 28
Jack Reaper – 27
Thomas Wood – 37
Jake Conolan – 27
Clinton Young – 17
Jack Baker – 17
Daniel Weaver – 15
Won three more games than last year, but couldn’t crack it for that key scalp they so desperately craved, with all six of their victories coming against the three sides they finished ahead of.
Having struggled to hit the scoreboard last year, averaged an extra four goals per game this season and were three goals a game better defensively.
Debuted six youngsters in another development year for the Bulldogs that will continue next season with a new coach at the helm in Clinton Young, who takes over from Brad Spear.
Had their first winner of the BFNL Rising Star Award in Jack Scanlon.