MARYBOROUGH 1999 premiership player Rick Andrews is returning to the club as its new senior coach.
The Magpies announced the appointment of Andrews on Wednesday, quickly filling the void created by the departure of Justin Abrams.
Andrews brings a wealth of coaching experience to the Magpies, including the past seven seasons filling a variety of roles with the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in the NAB League.
He has also previously coached Talbot in the Maryborough-Castlemaine District league, Charlton in the North Central league and Clunes in the Central Highlands league.
"I've been involved in coaching for a long time and this is a good opportunity to give back to a club that has given me a lot in the past," Andrews said.
"And it's also a club that has got an emerging list that needs a bit of work and time put into them."
Andrews has signed with Maryborough for at least three years and says he is committed to the long-term knowing that plenty of work lies ahead to turn around the Magpies, who have battled for much of the past decade and are coming off just one win this season after being decimated by injuries.
"The starting point for me is to build relationships and for people to begin to get to know me," Andrews said.
"You're at ground zero whenever you walk back into a club no matter how many times you've played for it previously.
"I just want to do the basics really well, build relationships, work on list retention and then see what we can do recruiting-wise and hope for the best in terms of what football looks like next year."
This is a good opportunity to give back to a club that has given me a lot in the past- Rick Andrews
While Maryborough has faced an enduring on-field struggle - the Magpies have won just nine of 93 senior games since 2015 - Andrews says he has tremendous respect for those who have stayed loyal with the club both on and off the field.
"I think what it shows is just how resilient some people are in clubs and that's what really grabs me about this... it's the ones who have stuck around and shown absolute resilience, never lost faith and just love what football clubs can give back to people," Andrews said.
"I think that describes the people involved at Maryborough really well and what they want from me is exactly what they've shown over these years.
"They want someone who will dig in, work hard and do their best for the club and that's all I want to do.
"Most people know where the club is at and things aren't just going to happen quickly; it's going to be a building process and one that you've got to get right each step of the way.
"I am really grateful to have the opportunity to coach such a proud and successful club like Maryborough.
"To work with a young and emerging group was a big motivating factor. I already have some great memories here, but hope my best ones will be created in the future with this playing group and community."
As well as being a member of Maryborough's 1999 team that defeated Castlemaine in the grand final, Andrews - who hung up the boots as a player in 2014 - is also a BFNL senior premiership player with Sandhurst.
A hard-nut midfielder, Andrews played in the Dragons' drought-breaking 2004 grand final win over Gisborne.
Maryborough president Brendan Roughead said the Magpies were thrilled to secure Andrews as coach given not only his strong coaching background, but also his past ties to the club.
"We're really excited by this appointment for the club," Roughead said.
"Rick has been a successful past player with Maryborough, he knows the club and has a lot of coaching experience, which is important.
"And on top of that, he has a masters in coaching, so he is clearly passionate about coaching and developing people and he's demonstrated that at various levels throughout his career.
"We've got a young list, we're still really hopeful we'll get under-18s up for next year and we think it will be a fantastic mix.
"Rick's appointment sets the club up for a really exciting future. He will be a tremendous asset to our club as someone who will provide leadership, direction and development to both the young and more experienced members of our playing group."
Andrews' past seven years with the GWV Rebels have included stints as the forward and midfield line coach, coach of the under-16 and under-17 boys program, while he worked with the under-19 girls this year and has also been involved with Vic Country teams.
Maryborough last played senior finals in 2010.
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