Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

O'Donague to lead Congupna

In some much needed good news for the club, Kevin O’Donague has returned to Congupna as senior coach for next year’s Murray Football League season.

DAMEN FRANCIS November 23, 2012 4:10am

In some much needed good news for the club, Kevin O’Donague has returned to Congupna as senior coach for next year’s Murray Football League season.

A longtime servant, O’Donague had originally departed at the end of last season to accept a position as assistant coach of Goulburn Valley Football League club Shepparton.

However, a tumultuous off-season in which a host of senior players, including Tyson Sidebottom, Marc Bullen and Jordan Hallam, have left The Road, prompted a change of heart.

‘‘I’ve been involved at Congupna for 30 years and I thought I needed to get away from the club for a while,’’ O’Donague said.

‘‘But the way everything has happened in the past few weeks I couldn’t leave ... sometimes you have just got to put the club in front of your own personal thing, you can’t have everyone jump ship at the same time.

‘‘I have a fair bit of respect with the junior players and I want to make sure they remain loyal to the club.’’

O’Donague replaces last year’s senior coach Mark O’Meara, who while unable to fully commit to the role, is expected to remain involved.

In his time at Congupna, O’Donague has coached at nearly every level, including the past five years as senior assistant.

He admitted he faced a major challenge to ensure the club avoided a major slide next season.

‘‘It’s not going to be easy when you lose a few high quality players, the attraction is not there for guys to come, but if we can retain our kids it is there,’’ he said.

‘‘My main objective is to maintain the kids and stabilise the club and if we’re fortunate enough to pick up a couple (of players) I can see us being quite handy as well.’’

While he was unable to name names, he said he was ‘‘talking to a few’’ and was committed to bringing senior players into the side.

Regardless, there will be a heavy reliance on the leadership of experienced players such as Marcus Drum, Heath Barton and Shane Bensch.

When asked if he was confident of avoiding further personnel losses, O’Donague said he and the club would ‘‘do our best’’.

The club has also invited past players and members and people in the community to take up a role at the club and has postponed its annual general meeting until December 5.

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