McDowell weighs his options after tough loss
INVERLEIGH coach Mark McDowell has revealed he will make a decision on his coaching future by the end of the week after Saturday’s gutting grand final loss.
With GFL club Grovedale understood to be circling the Hawks’ mentor, McDowell admitted he was unsure whether to commit for another season at Inverleigh Recreation Reserve.
“I’ve said to Inverleigh that I wouldn’t make a decision on what I’m going to do next year until after the grand final,” McDowell said. “But I would make a decision fairly quickly and I’ll make it by the end of the week.”
Asked if there was a possibility he could coach elsewhere, McDowell replied: “It’s a possibility, I’m not 100 per cent sure”.
McDowell’s comments came just moments after his side’s 39-point loss to the Panthers.
“I thought we came out a bit over exuberant,” McDowell said of the sluggish start.
“That over-exuberance gave away a few free kicks and they were extremely efficient with the footy and made us pay.
“We just couldn’t get close enough to put them under any real, serious pressure.”
The Hawks kept coming, closing to within three goals on several occasions, but couldn’t close the gap.
McDowell lauded the effort of his side, declaring he was “immensely” proud.
“Absolutely. That’s the first thing I said to the guys (post match) ... ‘your effort today will win a grand final, but our fumbles and our inability to adapt to the conditions, we need to get better and learn from that’.
“They’re hurt. All I said was ‘what we produced today wasn’t good enough’, but I asked every individual, ‘have you done everything you can to be in the best possible shape to win a grand final?’, because it clearly hasn’t been enough and they’ve got to find another 5 per cent, whether that be extra skill work, extra training sessions, being more professional with your recovery and being more professional with your preparation, because the endeavour is there.”
Dean Muir was under duress with a sore hamstring, while Jak KennedyHunt struggled with a quad tear, sore shins and a calf strain.
The Hawks also missed suspended co-captain Ryan Garrard. “He lays 10 tackles inside and he’s got that ability to nail a few goals,” McDowell said. “We missed him, but would it have made a difference? I don’t think so.”
Inverleigh will go in search of a key defender, but McDowell is confident the club has the squad to go one step further next season.
“I think we’ve actually got the list there,” he said.
“A few players fell over during the year and one of them was Josh Rees with a patella tendon issue. He would’ve really benefited us, and Benny Darrington is a really good user of the ball and we lost him to a shoulder injury.
“If we were looking for a couple of players, it would be those who can use the ball under pressure.”
BATTERED AND BRUISED: Inverleigh spearhead Jak Kennedy-Hunt lays hurt after taking a heavy knock during the GDFL grand final.