STAWELL Warriors Football Netball club made some early moves into the next year's season, announcing all football coaches and commencing training.
The football coaching announcements come after Tom Eckel was announced senior coach for 2021 and Jay Moody as his assistant.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the club had put training on the back burner after its 2020 season was cancelled.
Behind the scenes, the committee worked hard to ensure coaching appointments and players were supported during the period of no sport, with anticipation they would return to the ovals in the latter half of 2020.
President Tim Williams said it was "nice" to be organised for the 2021 season early so coaches could get a head start on next year's season.
"Hopefully we get a season next year and if so, we're all prepared," he said.
"I think we're lucky at the Warriors - we've got a lot of young players.
"The message we were getting from them as they were missing their football and missing their mates and wanted to get out there and play."
Williams said the committee worked hard during the time the season was meant to be on to ensure players and coaches were supported.
"We've had to approach all of our sponsors and talk them through options," he said.
"We've also had some work done on the clubrooms and were able to do some upgrades.
"It's been hard to hold committee meetings while the strict restrictions were on, but as they ease we can get together and get some more things happening."
Williams said he was encouraging any interested players of both football and netball to get in touch with the relevant coaches if they were interested in playing in 2021.
"It's going to be a tough preseason," he said.
"We've had a number of football signings so that shows the commitment to the club."
Shane Bibby and Charlie Driscoll will coach the reserves side in 2021.
Bibby is a past player at the club and said he thought the opportunity to go back to the club and joint coach the reserves was an exciting opportunity.
"We've got a young list which I'm looking forward to helping to develop," he said.
"I was involved out at Navarre for a very long time. It was a tough decision and it took a long time to make up my mind but I met with the football department and was impressed with their vision and their approach they are taking.
"I thought why not give it a go?"
Bibby said he was eager to get the players back on the oval and starting to train as soon as possible.
"We've obviously looking for some success for the club and a big level of commitment from the players," he said.
"For me, I will be coming in with fresh eyes because I don't know a lot of the reserves players so I'm looking to mould a really good young side together and help mentor them both on and off the field.
"It's going to be a good learning curve for me. First and foremost getting to know the players. I think that's a good thing because I'm not going in with ideas of groups of mates and get to know the players as time goes on.
"The senior coaches will all be working together throughout the pre-season and season so there will be a lot of support around me."
Driscoll signed on, the co-coaching role his first coaching appointment.
"I thought it was a good opportunity to start a career in coaching," he said.
"The club has been fantastic and shown some faith in me.
"Working alongside Shane and the rest of the football department made it an easy decision to take on the role."
Driscoll said the young list was an opportunity for the club to develop the next generation of grass-root players for the future.
"If they all stick together and become great mates they all want to hang around it's easier to keep players," he said.
"I'm looking for really good numbers over the preseason.
"It makes the drills a lot easier and flows a lot better. It gives you an opportunity to know what you are working with early on."
Rhett Mellor and Jamie Bach have been appointed the under-17s co-coaches for 2021.
Mellor was last seasons under-14 coach and had followed a number of players through the system, coaching in the under-13 competition in Stawell for about six years.
He said he was excited to take on the role with Bach.
"The kids love him (Jamie Bach)," he said.
"He was our umpire all last year and they respect him.
"Tom Eckel, the senior coach, has also said he will help out with training and working through drills.
"Our aim is to make the transition for the young players into senior footballers a little bit easier by teaching them at the under-17 level what it takes to be a senior footballer."
Mellor said clubs across the board have noticed there is a drop off in players once they move out of the junior ranks.
"We want to keep those players around the club and support them in their journey to become senior footballers," he said.
"We don't want them to walk in blindfolded into their first year of senior football.
"We want to give them a bit of grounding in juniors to know what it's like and the expectations.
"A lot of the stronger teams do that over the years and it's shown the players can walk straight into senior football and know the game plans and know the structures.
"Hopefully that's something we can implement at the club as time goes on."
Mellor said it was "extremely" rewarding to follow through with some of the junior footballer's journeys - being there for when some of them picked up a football for the first time.
"That's why we're working with the senior coaches as well so keep that momentum going," he said.
"Hopefully I can see some of these players come out of under-17 football and step into senior football.
"That will be really rewarding for Bachie and myself."
Mellor said during restrictions the momentum started building with players doing some individual training.
"It will be difficult for all coaches and players to build back up after having a year off," he said.
"That's why it's really important we get the players at training and get them back out playing football with their mates as soon as we can."
Bach has returned to coaching after a stint in under-13 and under-14.
"Rhett rang me and asked if I wanted to jump on board and I agreed," Back said.
"I'm in my mid-twenties now and I remember what it was like to have a coach that is still playing.
"It's nice to have that rapport with them. It's nice to have a coach out training with you.
"I thought if I could fill in that role and related to the kids in that way I thought why not."
Bach said taking on the role in a co-coaching position allows more support for each player.
"After having a year off and players been in and out of school I think there will be a lot of variables we will have to go through as coaches," he said.
"Rhett has coached many junior teams that have had success and even as a player so together we've got the football knowledge and together we can get the kids enjoying football and playing with their mates.
"Win, lose. Of course, you always want to win but even if they can turn up and enjoy being around the club and each other then we've done our job."
Bach said while his life has revolved around the football club since he was very young to share such an important role at the club enabled people to share workloads.
"We can both maintain the roles and full-time work and give the players the focus they require," he said.
"I knew I could do it with Rhett and would become an easy workflow."
Marc Collins has taken on the coaching role of the under-14 players for the 2021 season.
Collins said he had originally put his hand up to coach in the 2020 season.
"I was disappointed the season didn't go ahead so it made sense to put my hand up again," he said.
"My young bloke is playing under-14s this year and I'll be at all the games so I thought it was the perfect opportunity and help out with the kids.
"I've always played for Stawell so saw this as a fantastic opportunity to give back to the club."
Collins said he was hopeful to get the players back out on the ground playing after having a season off.
"There are no huge ambitions," he said.
"At this stage, it's just about getting the numbers to training and getting them back out with their mates and playing sport again.
"Getting new kids out playing is a big focus - to win a few games will be a bonus."
Collins said training was on Wednesday night and all existing and new players were welcome to go down to Central Park and join in.
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