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Only Best will do for Swans

Shepparton Swans have appointed Hayden Best as coach Brett Warburton's successor when stands down from the job at the end of the Goulburn Valley Football League season.

OLIVER CAFFREY July 11, 2014 3:10am

Hayden Best will take on his maiden Goulburn Valley Football League coaching job at Shepparton Swans after previously guiding Shepparton East to two Picola District Football League south-east premierships.


As far as coaching transitions go, it couldn’t have been any smoother for Shepparton Swans.

Assistant coach Hayden Best will inherit the senior role at Princess Park next year with current mentor Brett Warburton to stand down at the end of the Goulburn Valley Football League season.

Warburton, who took over as senior coach at the end of 2010, cited growing family and work commitments, along with a desire to keep the club moving forward.

‘‘I went to the committee and said, ‘I don’t want the boys to get sick of my voice’ and be one of those coaches that lingers on a bit too long,’’ Warburton said.

‘‘My life’s changing a bit, my eldest boy is going into high school next year and I’m a partner of a very large company that’s looking at getting larger.’’

Warburton said Best was always the logical successor after returning to the club as a playing assistant coach from Shepparton East last year.

Best has since retired from playing after succumbing to injuries.

He led the Eagles to Picola District Football League south-east premierships in 2010 and 2012 during four years as playing coach.

Best played more than 150 games for the Swans and spent time in the VFL and TAC Cup systems with North Ballarat and Murray Bushrangers.

‘‘We’ve been grooming Hayden for a period of time since he came back as an assistant coach last year,’’ Warburton said.

‘‘We thought it was best to announce it now when we know it’s definitely going to be the case for next year; get it out there and move on with this season.

‘‘Our focus is solely on 2014, but it gives him time to get ready and lets everyone else know that he will be the one taking the club forward.

‘‘I’m extremely proud to be handing it over to a true Swans bloke in Hayden.’’

Best said it was an exciting challenge to lead the club.

‘‘The opportunity to coach the club I was pretty much born into was something I never thought would come along — my parents are life members and my brothers have played a lot of footy here as well,’’ Best said.

‘‘The opportunity to work under Brett first of all was fantastic, and I thought that was overwhelming, and now the opportunity to coach outright is fantastic as well.

‘‘Realistically, it’s my seventh year as a coach, so it’s not anything new to me, but I’ve learnt a lot in the first couple of years under Brett.’’

A self-confessed footy nut, Best said he had done everything he could to make himself the best candidate available.

‘‘We’ve had a strong process to go through, I let them know I’m keen and I’m ready for it,’’ Best said.

‘‘It’s been probably a six-month thing where there was a chance I could potentially be coaching the side if things went my way.

‘‘Now that I’ve got the job it’s obviously that time of year where we’ve got to be strong as a club, so it’s good to get it out there and concentrate on finals.’’

Warburton said it was a tough decision to step away, but it was in the best interests of the club.

He said he was proud of helping change the culture of the club after a tumultuous end to the 2010 season.

‘‘It’s always a tough decision, some of these boys were 17 and 18 when I was appointed and I’ve seen them grow up into terrific young men with great values,’’ Warburton said.

‘‘It’s not just me, I’ve had some great people around me and the key to having success has been the help around the club and some of the quality people we’ve brought in.’’

Warburton will coach the Swans’ under-14 side next year and hoped to play a few games in the reserves.

Swans president Kevin Preece said the board agreed it was the right move to announce Best’s appointment immediately.

‘‘Once Brett indicated he wasn’t going ahead next year, we had to look to get certainty in the coaching for next year, and for us, Hayden was the logical choice,’’ Preece said.

‘‘He’s an experienced coach and has been doing an apprenticeship under Brett — he really has been undergoing an interview process for these last couple of years.

‘‘The transition is important, we’re fully supportive of Brett and his team to finish off the year strongly, but it’s important to think about next year in terms of recruiting and securing the list.

‘‘Football is really a 12-month a year business now, so you can’t afford to rest on your laurels.’’

The Swans, who are third on the ladder with nine wins, have re-signed key players Tyson Sidebottom, Andrew Riordan and Josh Chapman for next season.

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