Continuity will be the key as Cobram seeks to atone for its abrupt finish to the Regional Premier League last season.By Damen Francis
Continuity will be the key as Cobram seeks to atone for its abrupt finish to the Regional Premier League last season.
Even with Luke Slater stepping down as coach, little will change at the top, with co-coach Paul Amadei taking on an expanded role for the upcoming campaign.
Five premierships as coach of Shepparton South illustrates Amadei’s ability as a coach and that he has assisted Slater for the past two years should ensure a smooth transition.
‘‘It was still a leading role as much as Luke was actually playing, so all the decisions were left to me during the matches,’’ Amadei said.
‘‘We did talk to each other at half-time, but in the second half when changes had to be made I made them.
‘‘You have to be able to trust the guy on the bench otherwise it doesn’t work.
‘‘Luke will still be playing, the only things he won’t be involved in as much is the coaching on Wednesday and Friday nights.
‘‘I’m sure he’ll have his say if something happens on a Sunday, but I expect that from my senior players, so not much will change.’’
Last year the Tigers were the league frontrunners for much of the season and finished second on the ladder, only to be knocked out of the finals race in straight sets.
It was a premature end to a promising campaign, but one that has left players and coaches with unfinished business.
Amadei said the Tigers ‘‘as a group’’ decided ‘‘we had to redeem ourselves’’.
That mentality is clearly one supported by the players, with the majority of the squad returning this year.
All four of the club’s Scottish recruits — David McGurk, Kevin Moffat and cousins Sean and Michael Ellis — have re-signed and Amadei said two new signings, one from Scotland and one from the United States, would be announced in the near future.
On the downside, key duo Stuart Vance and Umut Ozduzenciler have moved to Queensland.
With its cap of six players from overseas already filled, the Tigers will look locally for further additions to the squad.
Top of the list is a new goalkeeper, with Jamal Muftin yet to recommit for another season.
‘‘We haven’t disregarded Jamal yet, but we haven’t heard from him,’’ Amadei said.
‘‘A keeper is our first priority and hopefully we can find someone locally that can play.
‘‘That will be the difference between most sides now, because you’ve only got six (international) players, who has got the best local blokes will come out on top.’’
Pre-season training will begin on February 6.
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