Swans coach to step down

HARD­ING GIVES CLUB CHANCE TO RE­CRUIT

Eastern Reporter - - Sport -

SWAN Dis­tricts coach Greg Hard­ing will step down at the end of the sea­son as one of the long­est-serv­ing WAFL men­tors of the decade.

Hard­ing will have guided Swans for seven cam­paigns since 2011 when he puts away the mag­net board, sec­ond only to West Perth strate­gist Bill Mon­aghan among the cur­rent crop of coaches.

Mon­aghan is into his ninth sea­son at the Falcons, while Su­bi­aco’s Jar­rad Schofield and Peel’s Cam Shep­herd are third in line, lead­ing a fifth year at their re­spec­tive clubs.

The 2010 pre­miers have a 66-73 win-loss record with Hard­ing at the helm, neg­a­tively skewed by a tough 2016 sea­son in which the club won just two games.

A fi­nals win has eluded the Great South­ern Foot­ball League prod­uct, with Swans fea­tur­ing in four losses across three con­sec­u­tive series from 2012 to 2014.

But a post-sea­son vic­tory could come in his farewell year, with the side hold­ing some breath­ing room in fourth po­si­tion on the WAFL ta­ble with four matches re­main­ing.

Hard­ing said he made the in-sea­son an­nounce­ment to give the club plenty of time to source a new leader.

The for­mer West Coast and Fre­man­tle foot­baller was con­fi­dent he would leave the Black Ducks in a good place.

“I firmly be­lieve the de­ci­sion is timely and dur­ing a pe­riod when the club is pro­gress­ing strongly both on and off the field,” he said.

“Since mov­ing to the Swan Val­ley over 10 years ago, the club and peo­ple within have be­come a mas­sive part of my life and will con­tinue to be in the fu­ture.

“Right now, we have games to win to en­sure a ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion pres­ence dur­ing Septem­ber.”

Club pres­i­dent Peter Hodyl said Hard­ing would leave a “very big hole to fill”.

He em­pha­sised the 40-yearold’s in­volve­ment at the club be­yond his league role.

“It’s ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing to lose a per­son of Greg's char­ac­ter and foot­ball knowl­edge,” he said.

“Greg’s not just our se­nior coach, he’s ac­tively in­volved in all grades at Swans. His abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate openly with all and sundry is a rare char­ac­ter­is­tic.”

Pic­ture: Mar­cus Whisson d434367

Greg Hard­ing is putting the train­ing whis­tle away.

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