Benalla Ensign

Two to tango M&M a sweet combinatio­n for Saints

- By Liam Nash

During the extended wait between now and Goulburn Valley League’s return, Benalla Saints are pulling out all the stops on the coaching front.

Will Martiniell­o and Mark McKenzie were recently announced as the luminaries anointed to lead the club towards the light as senior co-coaches, bringing with them a great deal of combined experience.

The pair has signed on for seasons 2022 and 2023 in the absence of outgoing coach Jake Pallpratt, whose time at the helm has largely been disrupted through the pandemic.

A statement released by the club conveyed the buoyancy around the traps in securing the pair for the next two years.

“Will and Mark are both fantastic leaders around Benalla Saints and in the wider community,” it read.

“The club started the coaching search as soon as the season was called off and with Jake Pallpratt stepping down, after two very difficult seasons with COVID interrupti­ons it was vital we got the right coach or coaches.

“The club is confident Will and Mark will do everything possible to ensure the club is successful both on and off field as we transition hopefully back to a normal season.”

Martiniell­o, a name synonymous with Benalla, steps up to the coaching fray after many sparkling seasons in the black, white and red.

And there is little he has not achieved at playing level for Benalla.

Martiniell­o won the Morrison Medal in 2014 and was an integral member of the Saints’ premiershi­pwinning side a year later, and lines up alongside another club legend in McKenzie during the next two seasons.

As a five-time leading goal kicker and best-andfairest winner for the Saints, McKenzie assumes the role with a host of knowledge of the Saints’ culture.

Martiniell­o and McKenzie will be searching to lift Benalla into finals contention in next year’s GVL season after the Saints narrowly missed out on the six in this year’s curtailed campaign.

The club believes it has the right men to do exactly that — the statement clearly indicating the ebullience radiating around the Saints’ camp by locking in the duo.

“Will and Mark are both looking forward to the season ahead as senior coaches and building on the foundation­s that are in place,” it read.

“Mark and Will are focused on retaining the current group whilst looking to add some new talent.

“Both coaches are invested in ensuring we have a fun and enjoyable culture focused on developing in the younger members around the club on and off the field.”

 ?? New challenge:
Karl Phillipson ?? Will Martiniell­o is stepping up to co-coach the Saints over the next two years.
Picture:
New challenge: Karl Phillipson Will Martiniell­o is stepping up to co-coach the Saints over the next two years. Picture:
 ?? Ready to make his Mark: ?? Mark McKenzie — shown here during his playing days — has signed on as senior cocoach for 2022 and 2023 at Benalla.
Ready to make his Mark: Mark McKenzie — shown here during his playing days — has signed on as senior cocoach for 2022 and 2023 at Benalla.

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