MATT Plathe believes he’s better equipped to tackle the job of head-coach of the Bendigo Dragons after a steep learning curve last season.
In a show of faith, the Dragons committee has reappointed Plathe as playing coach for a second straight season.
He’ll lead a Dragons unit which finished 4-7-1 in Gridiron Victoria’s division two, but importantly was playing a superior brand of football in the second half of the season in comparison with the first.
The 25-year-old said he was rapt the committee had kept the faith in him.
“We’ve always said at the Dragons we’re about local people developed in these (coaching) roles and it’s great to see that in action,” Plathe said.
“My first season coach was always going to be a hard season.
“We had a few key players move away, or retire and a large intake of rookies to train and assign positions to.
“The learning curve was steep, especially being a playing coach.
“Luckily I had (import player and assistant coach) Jeremy Aquino to mentor me as a coach and a wealth of support coming from the committee, volunteers and the playing group.”
The Dragons enter the new year full of optimism after switching their training base to La Trobe University.
Pre-season kicks off on at March 11, with training to continue each Sunday from 10.15am-1pm and Wednesdays from 6.15pm to 8.30pm.
Following a rare season in which they failed to qualify for the playoffs, Plathe said the focus was firmly on re-establishing the Dragons as a force.
“Although we knew it was going to be a year of rebuilding it was made harder by injuries,” he said.
“We managed to fight back after stumbling and missed the playoffs by only one win.
“Most of last year’s players are returning and we have a few others that took last year off returning, while interest from the public in our pre-season has been promising.”
The Dragons had three players earn All Victoria Team honours in 2017.
They were right guard Kudakwashe Kagonda, left guard David Plathe and defensive end Zac Parker-Caldwell.