After a three year break from football, Damien Lock is returning to the coaches' box.
The former Carlton midfielder has been appointed coach of Central Murray Football League club Tooleybuc-Manangatang.
He takes over from another former Bendigo Pioneers star Mark Alvey, who stood down because of work commitments.
Lock previously coached Heathcote District Football Netball League clubs Colbinabbin and North Bendigo and Loddon Valley Football Netball League club Marong.
He was also an assistant coach at his home club Eaglehawk in the Bendigo Football Netball League.
"I enjoyed having a break from footy, but this is a good opportunity to get back involved,'' Lock said.
"It's a bit late in terms of recruiting, but it's major league footy and we'll see how we go.
"It's an opportunity that came out of the blue, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and giving it a crack."
Tooleybuc-Manangatang finished fifth on the ladder in 2019, won the elimination final before being knocked out in the first semi-final by eventual runner-up the Mallee Eagles.
While not being involved with a club since his departure from Marong, Lock said he'd watched plenty of country footy in the Bendigo region in 2018 and 2019.
"I always kept an eye on games and kept an interest,'' Lock said.
"It's a fresh canvas for me up there. I don't really know too many people and I haven't seen much footy up that way, either.
"I'm heading up tomorrow night for our first training session, so I'm looking forward to meeting the players."
Lock started a professional boxing career when his footy playing days were over.
The 42-year-old has had mixed success in the ring, but hasn't hung the gloves up just yet.
"I'm still training and I might have a fight before the start of the season if something comes up,'' Lock said.
"Once the footy season starts I'll concentrate on footy and leave the boxing until the end of the year."
Lock played 18 AFL games for Carlton and had experience in the VFL and WAFL.
He was a premiership player with Eaglehawk in 2008 where he won the Nalder Medal for best player on the ground.
Read more: Lock's stirring hometown win
Read more: Lock's tough night at Battle of Bendigo
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