Academy appoints successful leaders

February 14, 2018

TALKING TACTICS: Deep in the inner sanctum of the Victoria Park clubrooms, Echuca's three footy coaches for 2016 - Andrew Briggs (senior, left), Paul Clarke (under 18s) and Ben Ridge (reservers) aim for a whole-club philosophy ahead of next season. PHOTO: Ben Carter

As the siren sounded at the end of the game, the face of Moama's Adrian Dohnt said it all. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

SUCCESSFUL footy coaches from the Echuca-Moama region have been given the chance to lead a youth development academy in Echuca.

AFL Goulburn Murray finalised its coaching structure for the 2018 Tatura Milk AFL Goulburn Murray Youth Development Academy programme recently, and put locals in charge of the talented youngsters.

Training bases for the under 13, under 14 and under 15 age groups will be at Kialla, Princess Park, Rochester and Echuca starting at the end of the month.

The Rochester under 13 group will be headed up by experienced coach Paul Clarke, who has an outstanding record from his time at the Cairns Saints, as well as recently coaching the Echuca under 18 in the Goulburn Valley League.

Clark helped to form the Saints, as well as lead them to a number of titles in his time in charge. After his move to the Echuca youth side, he was snapped up for a chance at leading the academy.

Clark will be assisted by 2016 GVL interleague squad member Bart Phillips, who has decided to combine his transition in a senior assistant coaching role at Lockington, with the academy.

The under 14 academy will benefit from the services of former Echuca, Moama and Lockington best and fairest winner and senior premiership coach Adrian ‘Ady’ Dohnt.

Dohnt will pair up with local Echuca Junior Football Club committee member Phillip Evans.

AFL Goulburn Murray football development manager Trevor Mellington said he was delighted with the appointments.

“It is a fantastic outcome for the youth of our region to be able to attract such high quality applicants to these positions,’’ Mellington said.

“We are committed to facilitating a coaching pathway as well as a development academy for players.

‘‘As an example, Stephen Ash, who will coach our under 15 group has spent the summer period as an assistant coach with the Murray Bushrangers under 16 team.’’

Retained coaches from last year’s program are Cameron Stewart, Luke Moodie, Evans, Ash, Brett Warburton, Daryl Chalcraft, Phil Guthrie, Ross Opie, Jamie Atkinson and Damien Saxon.

The 75 members of the academy squads have been announced and can be found on the AFL Goulburn Murray website.

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