Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Dual coaches keen to start
As the next generation of Rams footballers take the reins, 2022 seniors coaches Ash Morris and Jack Tyndall have big plans for their team.
A lifelong Rams player, Morris first donned the blue and gold in the under 14s and played for the club until he was recruited for Richmond in the Victorian Football League in 2016.
He played at Richmond for a year before injury took him out of the game, but his passion for the sport never left him.
‘‘It was a great learning experience and I gained a lot of knowledge about what it takes to play at a high level,’’ Morris said.
In 2013 Morris won the Murray League O’Dwyer Medal, another highlight of his impressive career.
As he helped coaches Sam Hall and Tim Holobowski in the coach’s box in the 2021 season, Morris found the learning curve of coaching as interesting as he found the stopstart season disappointing.
‘‘It’s frustrating because the seniors missed out, but the seconds were still in and we were planning on keeping the seniors involved to help the seconds and that got canned as well,’’ he said.
‘‘Not being able to play this year has made me more driven to help players improve their footy.’’
Morris said former coaches and role models like Hall and Troy Bartlett had instilled the importance of skills development in him, something he wished to continue on with in his role as coach.
‘‘They’re both very passionate and driven to make the club a better place,’’ Morris said.
While the generation ahead of him has taught Morris a lot about how he wants to coach, he added young people have done just that in both his role as a teacher and a coach at the junior development level.
Morris likes to work at the individual level to connect with players and their ambitions and skills, much like he would with his students to ensure they feel ‘‘valued and supported’’ during the unique circumstances of COVID.
‘‘You can relate home learning to the footy because that got cancelled too,’’ he said of the Murray League being forced to cancel its final general round and its premiership as regional NSW was sent into lockdown.
‘‘That’s where my priorities are; keeping everyone keen and interested and continue moving.’’
Once the regional lockdown lifts, Morris is committed to beginning pre-season training, to give players the opportunity to get a head start on 2022.
‘‘I see myself as a dedicated person. ‘‘Once I find something I’m passionate about, I’m pretty dedicated and that’s going to hold me in good stead.’’
The seniors finished the season seventh place on the ladder and remained a contender for preliminary finals as those rounds were opened to the top eight prior to the most recent lockdowns in Victoria and regional NSW.
Teams will instead be awarded minor premiers at a later date, the league announced last Thursday.
Morris wants to see the seniors side ‘‘step up and support’’ Rams mainstays like Todd Gallagher, Ricky Gittens and John Anstee as club leaders in driving high standards across the team.
The former on-baller is also excited to improve the Rams forward line and its ability to play higher-scoring games, something the team has struggled with as their strongest players lie in the midfield.
Jack Tyndall will be partnering with Morris as assistant coach in 2022, and will play an integral part to building the club culture up and encouraging high standards from the seniors outfit.
Tyndall was a member of the 2011 premiership side and has since served as Blighty senior coach and assistant coach before returning to the Deni Rams in 2020.
Morris is excited for the leadership Tyndall will bring to his new position, thanks to his history coaching at Blighty and many years of football experience behind him.