New Rams coaches

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - SPORT -

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

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