Jake back to coach Saints

Myrtleford Times - - Front Page - BY TATE SPITERI tspi­teri@ne­me­dia.com.au

JAKE Sharp is Myrtle­ford’s new se­nior foot­ball coach with the Wer­ribee mid­fielder agree­ing to a three­year deal at the Saints.

The 23 year-old’s ap­point­ment was con­firmed to the play­ing group by pres­i­dent Michael Quirk fol­low­ing Satur­day’s fi­nal round clash with Wodonga.

Quirk said the club was de­lighted to have a for­mer ju­nior of Sharp’s ilk re­turn to the club in his prime.

“He has al­ways been on the radar to coach and we knew he would one day, we spoke to him last year about it, but the tim­ing wasn’t right,” Quirk said.

Sharp’s lead­er­ship skills are ob­vi­ous with the mid­fielder added into Wer­ribee’s five-man lead­er­ship group for the 2016 sea­son de­spite hav­ing only just turned 21.

He has re­mained in the role for the past three years where his rep­u­ta­tion has con­tin­ued to grow de­spite sev­eral set­backs in­clud­ing a bro­ken leg, fin­ger and rup­tured ACL.

And while Sharp was be­gin­ning to hit his straps as a state league foot­baller, boot­ing mul­ti­ple goals in three con­sec­u­tive games to end the sea­son he says he will walk away sat­is­fied with his VFL ca­reer.

“I have had two pretty big in­juries in my time at the level and could have pretty eas­ily pulled the pin, but I stuck at it and the last two years I have got some con­sis­tency into my game,” he said.

“VFL has been re­ally good and I felt com­fort­able this year, but the time is right to move on and fo­cus on other ar­eas of my life.”

Sharp has just com­pleted a teach­ing de­gree at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity and will move back to the area in time for the be­gin­ning of pre-sea­son train­ing in Novem­ber where he hopes to im­prove the Saints’ de­fen­sive game.

“We have a lot of nat­u­ral at­tack­ing abil­ity in our play­ing group so de­vel­op­ing our de­fen­sive side so we’re not in shoot-outs each week will be a fo­cus of the off-sea­son,” he said.

“I also want to up our con- tested ball con­sid­er­ing a few of our games are played in pretty muddy con­di­tions at home, I want us to be a re­ally con­tested side that has a nat­u­ral at­tack­ing flair.”

Sharp is likely to be as­sisted by one of the men he re­places Terry Burgess as well as Mark Kno­bel who was on the coach­ing staff this sea­son.

“Dur­ing the week most of my plan­ning will be cen­tred on just al­low­ing me to play on a Satur­day and take ad­dresses,” Sharp said.

“I feel com­fort­able with the way I will lead out on the field so it will be more that see­ing the game from up top that I will need some­one else to do.

“They (Burgess and Kno- bel) will help me a lot with that stuff and see­ing the game the way I want to see it, I am pretty com­fort­able with that.”

In­ter­est­ingly, Sharp will be the Saints’ equal youngest coach in their his­tory, with the out­go­ing Terry Burgess also 24 dur­ing his first stint at the club in the 1980s.

PHOTO: Jes­sica Ward

HEAD­ING HOME: Jake Sharp is leav­ing Wer­ribee to re­turn to Myrtle­ford as a play­ing coach un­til at least 2021.

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