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THE challenge of reinvigorating Kangaroo Flat's on-field fortunes will be led in 2020 by James Flaherty.
The Roos have confirmed Flaherty as their new coach, taking over from Rob Bennett, who stood down at the end of the 2019 season.
And also on Thursday Gisborne announced its new coach, with Rob Waters taking the reins of the Bulldogs.
Waters, who takes over from Clinton Young, is a dual North Ballarat City premiership coach in 2013-14 in the Ballarat league who has spent the past two years as the midfield coach with North Melbourne's VFL team. He is also a former Gisborne player.
At Kangaroo Flat, Flaherty joins the Roos having coached Rochester in the Goulburn Valley league for the past five years, is a former captain of the Bendigo Bombers in the VFL and has also previously played in the BFNL with South Bendigo, winning the league's Rising Star in 2005.
While he has spent his five years at Rochester as a playing coach, the 32-year-old will be a non-playing coach for the Roos.
"I'm based in Bendigo and commuted to Rochester, so over five years there has been a fair bit of travel that has started to get on top of me," Flaherty said on Thursday.
"Kangaroo Flat is a club that has obviously been struggling for a bit, so there's the challenge there to try to turn things around.
"Being born and bred in Bendigo I want the footy to be as strong as it can be. There has always been those three or four teams that have been up there at the top for the past decade and I want to see these other teams pushing up.
"I was impressed by how Kangaroo Flat approached it and they obviously have some young talent there, so there's a bit there to work with."
The Roos haven't played senior finals since 2009, but highlighting an exciting crop of young players developing from within, their under-18s won this year's premiership.
"They look like they are structured up well off-field, their netball is always strong and their thirds won the flag, so if I can get some development out of the young group that really excites me," Flaherty said.
"It's a really exciting challenge to try to get things going."
As well as his VFL experience with the Bendigo Bombers, Flaherty also spent four seasons in the WAFL with the Peel Thunder.
"Our club has already taken big steps forward with regards to professionalism, culture, development and sustainability. James has a track record of developing successful playing lists and is keen to develop our young players with the aim of getting Kangaroo Flat on track for long-term success," the Roos said in announcing Flaherty's appointment.
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