New Rams coaches
Former players Troy Bartlett and Sam Hall have been appointed co-coaches of the Deniliquin Rams for the 2019 Murray Football League season.
This will be Bartlett’s third stint as senior coach but his first in a non-playing capacity. It will be Hall’s first crack at senior coaching.
The pair agreed they’re excited about what’s ahead and that player numbers would be a focus for the immediate future.
Playing-coach Todd Gallagher decided to relinquish the role, saying balancing his fencing business, playing and coaching was difficult this year even though he enjoyed the experience.
He said an approach by Bartlett and Hall to “lighten the workload” was welcomed.
The 27 year-old played in a premiership with his new co-coaches back in 2011 at the Rams and said he’s already looking forward to working with them to get the side back into a winning position.
“When I took the job on it was always going to be a year to year prospect,” Gallagher said.
“And when the boys (Bartlett and Hall) approached me they talked about all doing it together, but I’m quite happy to take a step back and just concentrate on my footy and work. To be honest, it wasn’t the training and the game day stuff, it’s the phone calls and trying to recruit blokes that’s difficult when you’re often working out in the bush most of the week.
‘‘It’s been a tough year but I’m really proud of the side and we still have a few games to go to show what we can do. The guys have stuck with it and we’ve blooded a heap of quality kids into the side which is good for the future.
‘‘I’m confident we’ll turn it around next year and that we have the right guys in charge. I’ve played with both of them and I’ve played under Frog (Bartlett) in the seniors and Sam in the thirds when I was younger. We all have a deep love for the club, and that’s important.’’
Hall, who coached the club’s thirds to an unsuccessful grand final in 2008, said there are a lot of good young players coming through, ‘‘and that’s very exciting’’. But he said player numbers would be their immediate focus.
‘‘It’s been a struggle for numbers for a few years now, so we need to turn that around. We’ll be focusing heavily on enticing former players back to the club and perhaps adding in a couple of new ones.
‘‘We’re also very appreciative of the job Gags (Gallagher) has done. I played a role in convincing him to coach last year when the club didn’t have too many other options and he took it on knowing what he was going into and that it would most likely be a tough year and he has everyone’s respect for that. To coach in such a tough year and still perform, in my opinion, as the team’s best player is a credit to him.
‘‘We’ll need Todd’s input going forward and we’re all very excited about what’s ahead. I think we have about nine or 10 top age thirds this year so we want to ensure they’re on board and that we have some strong bodies around them whichever grade they play next year.’’
The Rams have won just the one game this year and Bartlett said he knows it’s going to be a challenge. But he said he was already buoyed by a couple of key signings — former premiership players Holobowski and Anthony Bull.
‘‘Tim and Bully are playing at Wycheproof this year where Anthony’s brother Julian is coaching. They’ve already committed to coming back which is great and there are a few others we’re hoping will sign in the next month or so.
‘‘We’ll also have Brayden Hall back on the field. He’s been around the club this year but hasn’t played after having a knee reconstruction. He was at Blighty for a couple of years as an assistant coach before that, so it’ll be great to have him back in Rams colours.
‘‘We’re also confident that we’ll keep all of this year’s playing roster.’’
The Rams committee approved the appointments at Monday night’s committee meeting, and club president Clint Free said it was a credit to all involved.
‘‘Todd, Sam and Frog all love our club and we’re rapt to have them leading the way next season. They’re great club people and we can’t thank Todd enough for taking the job on when he knew it was going to be a tough year.’’ Tim