Tungamah's Nick Doyle and Will Cooper have been appointed coaches of the Bears after Damian Payne decided to step down.By Matthew Galea
Damian Payne has chosen to bow out of his senior coaching role at Tungamah Football Club on a high.
Payne led the Bears to this year’s Picola District Football League south-east premiership and has decided he wanted to hand the reins over while the club was in a good place.
‘‘I just thought it was the right time for change, the right time to take a step back and spend a bit more time with the family,’’ Payne said.
Payne’s decision ends his two-year reign as senior playing coach, which followed a year as an assistant coach.
Two-time Pearce medallist Nick Doyle and 2013 reserve premiership player Will Cooper will share the coaching duties next season.
‘‘This is the first time we’ve done this and we’re modelling ourselves a bit on Yarrawonga, as we’ve seen it works well for them,’’ Tungamah president Troy Costigan said.
‘‘They’re both local kids and with Tungamah hosting the grand final next year, we wanted to give as much back to the locals as possible.
‘‘Plus it keeps Nick around the place, and he’s a pretty handy footballer.’’
Costigan said the club had already had meetings with the two new coaches ahead of a busy off-season.
Gun forward Lee James has already committed to next year with the Bears, with Costigan confident the majority of the list will be retained.
The new co-coaches expressed their excitement at taking on the coaching role at the club, with Doyle pleased to get his chance at his local club, despite the big body of work ahead of himself and Cooper.
‘‘The work for us starts now, when everyone else might be switching off a bit,’’ Doyle said.
‘‘Sam Keenan has retired, so he’s our only definite loss, but the majority of boys have committed and the signs are good from those that haven’t.
‘‘The club is in a good shape, we won the reserves’ and thirds’ premierships, as well as the seniors, so you’d much rather take over a club in good shape than one where you need to recruit maybe 10 or 15 players.’’
Cooper was also relishing the challenge of building on the club’s successes, saying he thought the dynamic between the playing and non-playing coaches would work well.
‘‘Nick is one of the best players in the PDFL, and one of his big concerns about taking the job on himself was that it would take away from his focus on his game,’’ Cooper said.
‘‘He’ll do a lot of the training work during the week, and I’ll take on a lot of the game day load so that he can just concentrate on his footy.’’
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