Li­ons hunt­ing new leader

Alpine Observer - - Sport - O&K FOOTBALL

WHOROULY is on the look­out for the next Nigel Robin­son or Harry Mo­ran to lead the club’s climb back up the Ovens and King lad­der.

Wayne Mil­lis has elected to step down from the helm in or­der to aid the club’s progress, and said a play­ing coach who was able to help bol­ster the Li­ons’ ranks would be the ideal can­di­date for the po­si­tion.

“A lot of coaches step down and say it is due to fam­ily com­mit­ments or be­ing busy with work, and I have those,” Mil­lis said.

“But that’s not why I’m do­ing it – for me it is all about what is best for the club.

“We need to at­tract more play­ers and I don’t think I’m the right guy to do that, given I’ve been here for 20 years.

“I will stick around and help out in any way that I can though.

“A good play­ing coach from out­side the club, some­one who can bring four or five mates with him – I feel like that is what we need right now.

“It’s hard, be­cause we are not a club that pays a lot of money, but we’re not look­ing for blokes who are putting their hand out.

“We want peo­ple who want to come to the club for the en­vi­ron­ment and the op­por­tu­nity.

“We’ve got a good, solid core of play­ers who are all very close mates, and there is a lot of po­ten­tial there.”

Mil­lis said fire­power was the big­gest area of need for the Li­ons.

“I felt like our de­fence and mid­field held up re­ally well – we just strug­gled to kick win­ning scores,” he said.

“If we can land one or two good for­wards I think that will turn around very quickly.

“Ob­vi­ously the hard part is find­ing those play­ers, but we know what we need.

“We have been talk­ing to play­ers who we feel would be a good fit for the club, but un­til we find a coach it is hard to con­vince those guys to come across.

“So the sooner we can get that done the bet­ter.”

Mil­lis said the Li­ons were also look­ing to in­ject youth into their line up, but con­ceded the align­ment be­tween Whorouly and the Snow Road Saints had largely failed.

“It is tough to get young play­ers in at the mo­ment – we only had one player at Snow Road this year,” he said.

“Mi­lawa has put the work in to de­velop that side, and well done to them, but we re­ally need to do some­thing about the com­pe­ti­tion.

“You look at how healthy the com­pe­ti­tion was 10 years ago with ev­ery club hav­ing a thirds side com­pared to now, and it’s pretty clear that things aren’t work­ing the way they are.

“I don’t have the an­swers, but I do think there needs to be an align­ment be­tween the O&K and the ju­nior league in Wang to help en­sure more of those young play­ers stick with footy.”

De­spite fin­ish­ing 11th on the lad­der this sea­son, Mil­lis said the Li­ons were well po­si­tioned for an in­com­ing coach.

“It doesn’t look good fin­ish­ing sec­ond from the bot­tom, but we were very close in both games against Moyhu and the sec­ond game against Greta,” he said.

“If we had won two or three ex­tra games, sud­denly we fin­ish sev­enth on the lad­der, which looks a lot bet­ter.

“I was re­ally happy with out com­pet­i­tive­ness, and the good thing is that the hard work has been done for next year, with the ma­jor­ity of play­ers com­mit­ted.

“When I took on the job last year the first thing I did was get guys to sign on for two years, so the likes of Matt Charleston, Bryce Hooper and Paul Glanville are all on board.

“It gives us a good base to build off.”

BY SCOTT ANDERSON

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