Star to coach

By Brayden May

ROCHESTER has moved swiftly to replace the outgoing James Flaherty, announcing Steven Stroobants as senior football coach for next season.

Stroobants, who is currently a playing development coach with VFL side Coburg, will return to Moon Oval on a full-time basis next season as Flaherty’s five-year tenure comes to an end.

The 30-year-old Stroobants joined Rochester ahead of the 2015 season and has gone onto kick 255 goals from 76 games – although he has spent the last two years balancing his time between the Goulburn Valley League and VFL.

And Tigers’ president Max Hahn said the announcement had already proven to be popular with the club’s playing group.

“Steven is very well respected by everyone at the club,” he said.

“His record as a footballer speaks for itself and we’re going to be very lucky to have access to him on a full-time basis.

“Having someone with his knowledge of the modern game will certainly be an advantage for our playing group.

“But most importantly he suits our club and town perfectly.”

While Flaherty is still focused on a strong end to the 2019 season, he said it was a positive to see the process move so quickly.

“Steven was really keen to have the opportunity to coach his own side,” he said.

“Once my decision had been made, everything moved pretty quickly. It speaks highly of the direction of the footy club wants to move in.

“Knowing the next steps helps us to start planning for next season, which could be a potential leg up on other clubs in the region.”