READ MORE - BFNL DECADE THAT WAS - the 2019 season
ROB Waters is brimming with excitement at the list he is inheriting as the new coach of Gisborne.
Waters has secured what is a plum BFNL coaching gig given the age profile of a latent-laden Bulldogs list filled with one-point players that is on an upwards trajectory having gone through a rebuild under former coaches Clinton Young and Brad Spear and was this year less than a kick away from playing in a grand final.
"I'm only 10 minutes up the road, so I've seen quite a bit of Gisborne and you look at their list filled with one-pointers... it's a good young list that is really starting to fire," Waters said at the weekend.
"When the opportunity came up it was certainly one I was keen to have a go at.
"Youngy has done a really good job over the past couple of years and I'll look to just keep educating and teaching the young boys.
"Even though they were only a kick away from a grand final this year and had a few good players who didn't play in the preliminary final, everyone is starting from scratch again.
"We'll work really hard, put some new structures in place and, hopefully, that can help us finish as high as we can and go from there, but every other club will be thinking the exact same thing as well."
Waters' appointment as the successor to Young was announced on Thursday and he arrives at the Bulldogs with a decorated and successful coaching CV.
Waters coached Carngham Linton for five years during the 2000s to three flags, was an assistant coach at the North Ballarat Roosters' during their VFL premiership three-peat, coached North City to back-to-back flags in the Ballarat league in 2013-14, was involved with the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in the TAC Cup and has spent the past two years as an assistant coach with North Melbourne's VFL team.
And Waters can see plenty of similarities at Gisborne to when he first arrived at North City in 2010.
"Similar to where Gisborne has had to come from over the past few years, North City was coming from a fair way back, but they got games into their kids and we were able to turn it into a good run for a few years," said Waters, who played at Gisborne during the '90s.
"We played the kids, worked on structures, got some belief and it steamrolled from there.
"We had a good group there for a few years, good juniors and the club really brought in as a whole, so it seems very similar to Gisborne and that's why the Gisborne job is so appealing.
"Gisborne has a great young list that is eager to learn, very impressionable and really keen to keep improving."
With Waters taking over, Young is unsure yet what his future holds, saying: "I'm not sure what is around the corner in my football journey, but our family is looking forward to whatever that may be."
* Gisborne's upwards trajectory:
2016 - 3 wins (9th)
2017 - 6 wins (7th)
2018 - 11 wins (5th)
2019 - 15 wins (3rd)
GISBORNE 2019 SNAPSHOT:
Finished - 3rd (15-6)
The Bulldogs produced one of the most emotional moments of the decade when they walked off the QEO arm-in-arm having just lost the preliminary final to Eaglehawk by four points.
The preliminary final was played less than a week after Bulldogs' reserves player Nathan Williams was killed in a car crash, which certainly put the loss of a football game in perspective.
Reaching the preliminary final was the deepest the Bulldogs had gone in a season since 2014, with their season results including back-to-back matches in rounds 10 and 11 when they conceded just one point against both Castlemaine and Kyneton.
The Bulldogs ended the decade with 99 wins and plenty of September heartbreak given they lost three preliminary finals (2011, 2014 and 2019) and a grand final (2012) by a combined 18 points.
Liam Spear won the league's Rising Star award.
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