KANGAROO Flat will have a new senior coach in 2023 with James Flaherty to step down at the end of this season.
Flaherty informed the club this week this will be his last season at the helm after taking over in 2020.
Under normal circumstances Flaherty would have coached the Roos in at least 54 games over a three-year period, but he will step aside having led the side in just 30 matches such has been the BFNL's COVID disruption during his tenure.
"With the scenario Kangaroo Flat is in, I think the commitment, demands, effort and desire that is required from the coach, I probably just can't give that beyond this season," Flaherty said on Thursday.
Flaherty's first season at the Roos in 2020 was entirely wiped out without a game being played due to the coronavirus pandemic cancellation of the BFNL season.
Only 12 games were played last year before the season was abandoned without a finals series played, with this 2022 campaign the first Flaherty has had unhindered during his stint at the club.
"It hasn't been a smooth run with all that has happened over the past couple of years," Flaherty said.
It hasn't been a smooth run with all that has happened over the past couple of years- James Flaherty
"Looking back to that first season in 2020 we had picked up four or five good recruits, but the way the year panned out with no footy played, unfortunately, it went backwards from there."
In the 25 games Flaherty has had the chance to coach the Roos in, they have won all five of their matches against either Maryborough or Castlemaine, but are 0-20 against the other seven teams in the competition.
"It has been pretty evident that we're probably three or four experienced players short with our list," Flaherty said.
"We've got a good base of local young players who want to improve, but we just don't have that depth on our list. I reckon we would have played 40 players through the seniors this year.
"And to be honest, the recruiting side isn't my strength. I understand it's something that has to be done, but I'd much rather focus on the coaching and development aspect, so maybe a new coach will be able to bring those three or four experienced players in that's needed."
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Flaherty has five games left in charge of the Roos, starting on Saturday with an away trip to Kyneton.
"Hopefully, there's some opportunities for us over these last five games... I've said to the boys that I'm still in charge for the rest of the season and if we're going to go out and put in poor performances then we're going to train harder," said Flaherty, who with wife Sarah has three children aged six and under.
"Hopefully, we can still get something out of the year."
Flaherty, who previously coached Rochester for five years, said it wasn't his intention to coach anywhere else next season.
Kangaroo Flat football department spokesman Scott Mitchell said the club had been in constant communication with Flaherty this year about his plans beyond this season.
"We will be sad to see James stepping away from the head coaching role. We respect his decision and are keen to see what part he may play in the future," Mitchell said.
"I commend James on his professionalism and dedication shown to the club and playing group in his time at Kangaroo Flat."
The Roos sit eighth on the ladder with a 3-10 record this year and still striving to knock off one of those seven teams above them.
"The football department will start the search for a senior coach immediately as it forms an integral part of our recruitment," Mitchell said.
"We can assure all of our supporters we will leave no stone unturned to find a new coach who is the right fit for the club."
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