HAVING served a three-year apprenticeship at Eaglehawk, Linton Jacobs feels ready to take the next step into senior coaching and has been given the opportunity by Marong.
The Panthers have announced Jacobs as their new senior coach for the 2021 Loddon Valley league season.
Jacobs takes over at the Panthers having spent the past three years as a senior assistant with Eaglehawk, as well as coaching the Hawks' reserves in the Bendigo league.
The 35-year-old also has coaching experience with Bendigo District Cricket Association club Strathdale-Maristians, whom he captain-coached to three first XI premierships.
"I feel with the experience I've had at Eaglehawk that I couldn't have asked to do a better apprenticeship under Josh Bowe for two years and Travis Matheson last season," Jacobs said on Wednesday.
"Bowey was a great leader and people person and Matho is very similar in that he's a really good communicator and tactically, he's very good too.
"I've had the itch to take ownership of my own side for a while and an opportunity has opened up, so I'm looking forward to having a crack at it."
I've had the itch to take ownership of my own side for a while and an opportunity has opened up, so I'm looking forward to having a crack at itLinton Jacobs
The Panthers finished sixth in the LVFNL last year with a 7-9 record.
"They lost some tight games to teams above them, so, hopefully, a lift in professionalism, drawing improvement out of the current group and adding in some experience around that can get the club back up into the finals for a start," Jacobs said.
"We won't put any limits on ourselves. It's a growing community, so if we put some structures in place that can have our juniors strong, hopefully, Marong can be a really strong club going forward."
The Panthers haven't won a senior premiership since 1989 and last played in a grand final in 2004.
"I'm really excited by the challenge and the prospects going forward," Jacobs said.
"They haven't had success for a long time, so that in itself is a good challenge. I'm confident we'll keep the majority of the current group and then if we can add a few new players, there's no limit on what we could do."
Jacobs takes over the reins at Malone Park from Taylor Beard and Ash Weldon, who co-coached the Panthers last year.
"Taylor and Ash have brought a level of professionalism to the football club which has made significant improvements to our performance both on and off the field," the Panthers said earlier this week in announcing Beard and Weldon had informed the club they wouldn't be continuing in the role.
"The Marong Football Club was extremely excited about the prospects of season 2020 and the work that Taylor and Ash had put into ensuring a successful season."
Meanwhile in other coaching news, Golden Square and Bernie Haberman have parted ways.
Haberman has led the Bulldogs since 2017, but the club confirmed on Wednesday it's now on the hunt for a new coach for 2021.
"A measure of success is the difference and improvement that a person has made to an organisation whilst there - Bernie has certainly achieved that," Bulldogs president Brendan Stewart said.
"Bernie will leave a lasting legacy at our club and we wish him all the best in his expanding business ventures."
The Bulldogs had a 38-20-1 record under Haberman.
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