Saints stal­wart steps up

JAMES MARTINIELLO IS TAK­ING ON BE­NALLA’S SE­NIOR COACH­ING ROLE

Shepparton News - - SPORT - By Tyler Ma­her

Be­nalla has found its re­place­ment for out­go­ing coach Luke Mor­gan.

Saints stal­wart James Martiniello will take the reins at Be­nalla Show­grounds next sea­son and club pres­i­dent Lloyd John­son was happy with the in­ter­nal ap­point­ment.

‘‘He has been great for the club, not just from a play­ing point of view, but he has also been a board mem­ber over the years as a player Tak­ing charge: rep­re­sen­ta­tive,’’ said.

‘‘We cer­tainly did the due dili­gence to see what was out there on the mar­ket, but James flagged his in­tent with us and we saw that he was the per­fect fit.

‘‘He has al­ways had in­ten­tions to coach and now he has the op­por­tu­nity to do so.

‘‘We’ll con­tinue build­ing on the suc­cess we’ve had over the last six years un­der Luke and move for­ward un­der James.

‘‘He has the full board sup­port and is cer­tainly one of our favourite sons in the club.’’ John­son

While Martiniello man­aged only 10 matches this sea­son due to in­jury trou­bles, it was enough to push him past the 150-game mark for the Saints and qual­ify him for life mem­ber­ship.

The premier Goul­burn Val­ley League mid­fielder also cap­tained Be­nalla to its 2015 pre­mier­ship tri­umph and will con­tinue tak­ing to the field next year as a play­ing coach.

Mor­gan led the Saints for six years be­fore an­nounc­ing his de­par­ture last month, land­ing a play­ing coach role at the Wan­garatta Mag­pies in the Ovens and Mur­ray Foot­ball af­ter.

‘‘It has been a dif­fi­cult time and a tough de­ci­sion,’’ Mor­gan told the Be­nalla En­sign.

‘‘The Be­nalla Saints have been very good to me and al­lowed me to de­velop as a coach and I have spent a lot of my play­ing ca­reer there.

‘‘I played over 100 games with them and, at my cur­rent age, I won’t play 100 games any­where else.

‘‘I’m grate­ful to have been al­lowed to do that and have had great sup­port along the way.

‘‘I’m ex­cited for the new chal­lenge and fresh start.’’ League shortly

Be­nalla’s James Martiniello (front) is the club’s new se­nior coach.

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