VANDY RE­TIRES

CROCS BIG MAN HEADS TO THE COACH­ING BENCH

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - ROHAN O'NEIL rohan. o'neil@ news. com. au

A GOLDEN op­por­tu­nity to make his mark in the coach­ing world con­vinced de­part­ing Townsville Crocodiles cen­tre Greg Van­der­jagt to call time on his 12- year play­ing ca­reer.

The 31- year- old racked up an in­cred­i­ble 243 NBL games since de­but­ing for Townsville in 2003/ 04 sea­son but yesterday made the de­ci­sion to walk away from his play­ing days and into a role as an as­sis­tant coach un­der Shawn Dennis.

Van­der­jagt’s pas­sion for bas­ket­ball re­mains and he is now look­ing for­ward to get­ting stuck into his new role.

Van­der­jagt will now work with fel­low as­sis­tant coach Sam Gruggen while also help­ing take the Crocodiles to more schools and com­mu­nity events as the club’s com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer.

“When I came back to the club two sea­sons ago, part of the ini­tial dis­cus­sion with Shawn and ( for­mer gen­eral man­ager) Pat Reidy at the time was about me mak­ing the tran­si­tion into a coach­ing role,” he said.

“Shawn had ex­pressed his de­sire for me to play one more year and im­me­di­ately af­ter the sea­son that’s where my head was at as well but I took some time away from bas­ket­ball and had a look at the op­por­tu­ni­ties that were there.

“I see coach­ing as my fu­ture long term and in­stead of drag­ging another year or two out of my body I jumped at the chance to be in­volved with bas­ket­ball de­vel­op­ment and be­come an as­sis­tant coach in a na­tional league pro­gram.”

Through his time with the Crocs and a two- sea­son stint with the Gold Coast Blaze, the Kempsey prod­uct built a rep­u­ta­tion as a valu­able role player will­ing to do the hard work on re­bounds and down the de­fen­sive end.

He is one of the long­est serv­ing Crocs in club history and his 209 caps in Townsville colours puts him fifth on the all- time list, be­hind Peter Craw­ford ( 292 games), Robert Rose ( 258), Kelvin Robert­son ( 243) and Michael Cedar ( 219).

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

SLAM DUNK: Vet­eran Townsville Crocodiles player Greg Van­der­jagt

has an­nounced his re­tire­ment from the NBL to take up a

coach­ing role.

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