AFTER a three-year break from the role, Aaron Walklate's coaching desire has been reinvigorated at Charlton.
Walklate has returned to the coaching role at the Navies, sharing it with another player who has previously led Charlton - Anthony Judd.
Walklate holds the mantle as Charlton's last premiership coach having led the Navies to the 2016 flag - one of three grand finals during his previous stint at the helm from 2014 to 2017.
"To be honest, I'm quite rejuvenated about getting back into coaching," Walklate said on Thursday.
"Living down in Melbourne and having had to teach remotely for 120-odd days last year to now being able to get back into footy and see blokes that I haven't seen for 12 to 18 months has been great."
During Walklate's previous four years as Charlton coach he guided the Navies to a 41-30 record and into grand finals in 2014 (lost to Wedderburn by 1 point), 2015 (lost to St Arnaud by 8 points) and 2016 (defeated Wycheproof-Narraport by 7 points).
"I probably should have given it away at the end of 2016 after we won the flag, but the club couldn't find anyone to take over, so I said I'd do it again, which is a bit the same this time," Walklate said.
"But Juddy and I are both really looking forward to it."
As well as co-coaching Charlton, Walklate and Judd were also co-captains of the Navies' 2005 premiership.
Walklate is a 200-game player with the Navies who is a two-time best and fairest, as well as winning the North Central league's Feeny Medal in 2010 while playing with Boort.
The hard-working midfielder last year came in at No.3 in the Addy's top 50 ranked NCFL players from 2010-19 behind Boe Bish (Wycheproof-Narraport) and James McNamee (St Arnaud).
The 37-year-old will continue to play on this year having had the chance to refresh his battered body - he has two plates and 15 screws in his body from football - after last season's cancellation.
"I think we'll have a good mix of youth and experience in the side. Most of us have played together previously, so, hopefully, we'll be able to get some continuity in the season," Walklate said.
"It sounds like Sea Lake and Birchip-Watchem are going to have good lists again and Donald has some good players coming back to the club.
"Our aim is to get ourselves into the finals and, hopefully, the experience we've got can hold us in good stead."
Charlton opens its season on Saturday, April 10, with a home game against Wycheproof-Narraport.
The game will be the first played at Charlton Park since the completion of a $4 million facility upgrade.
Charlton reached the preliminary final in its last season in 2019 under former coach Kain Robins.
* NCFL round one:
Saturday, April 10
Charlton v Wycheproof-Narraport
Birchip-Watchem v St Arnaud
Donald v Wedderburn Redbacks
Boort v Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers
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