Heading up Leitchville-Gunbower Football Club next year are assistant coach Cameron Carter, president Brendon Hawken and coach Marty Shadbolt.ZACH HUBBER November 16, 2012 4:29am
Heading up Leitchville-Gunbower Football Club next year are (from left) assistant coach Cameron Carter, president Brendon Hawken and coach Marty Shadbolt.
Having spent three years in the Heathcote and District Football League without a senior finals berth, Leitchville-Gunbower Football Club is intent on featuring at the pointy end of the season.
Buoyed by their under 17s’ near perfect 2012 campaign which netted the club a premiership, the Bombers have appointed new senior and assistant playing coaches to nurture their junior talent in 2013.
Marty Shadbolt, who after one year as assistant coach at his junior club Nyah-Nyah West United in the Central Murray Football League, has taken the top job.
Before coaching NNW United, Shadbolt spent three years as senior coach at Wycheproof-Narraport in the North Central Football League, which saw him take the club from two wins in 2008 to seven wins in ’09 and a premiership in ’10, followed by another grand final in ’11.
He said senior Leitchville-Gunbower players had been trying to entice him to the club for many years.
‘‘I’ve always wanted to get back in to coaching and a couple of the local blokes have been annoying me for a while,’’ he said.
‘‘Obviously there’s a lot of good kids here after winning a grand final in the thirds and with a bit more leadership around hopefully we can develop the kids coming through.’’
Shadbolt said the club was looking to recruit key position players before next season to support its junior talent.
‘‘If we can get those older and more mature bodies to work around the younger ones, we can hopefully get back into the finals picture,’’ he said.
‘‘At this stage it’s a bit of an unknown with a few players up in the air, but we want to get back into the finals and then see what happens from there.
‘‘I think with the good kids and a bit of experience we’re not far off the mark.’’
One man who knows about playing finals football in the HDFL is Cameron Carter.
Having coached Mt Pleasant to a premiership in 2006 and other coaching stints with Kangaroo Flat and Calivil United in the Bendigo and Loddon Valley football leagues, Carter will take up an assistant coaching role with the Bombers.
He said he was looking forward to rejoining the league after a four-year absence.
‘‘As Marty said, there’s a good group of young kids and we’re looking forward to working with them,’’ he said.
Leitchville-Gunbower president Brendon Hawken was rapt with the appointments, saying the decision to recruit the pair was ‘‘very easy’’.
‘‘Realistically this was our third year in the league and I think the standard is a little bit higher than what we anticipated when we came in,’’ he said.
‘‘I just think the Heathcote league has gone ahead in leaps and bounds over the last five or six years.
‘‘When Cam coached at Mt Pleasant it got stronger and stronger every year, so it is a really good comp now and there’s no real weak team in the league.’’
Shadbolt agreed, saying the evenness of the competition gave him confidence for a rise up the ladder.
‘‘We think if we can get the blokes we’re talking to we’ll have the nucleus for a very good side going forward,’’ he said.
‘‘By the sounds of it the kids are already training and getting keen, so I think if we can get a few of these other blokes we’re talking to over the line there’ll be a bit of a buzz around the place.’’
The Bombers have won 11 matches from their 48 HDFL encounters, including just the one last season.
The club will hold a ‘meet and greet’ with the new coaches at Gunbower Recreation Reserve on Sunday, November 25 at 11.30am before starting pre-season training at the ground on Wednesday, December 5.
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