Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Rams’ ‘terrific’ additions


The Deniliquin Rams Football Club has signed six familiar faces to head up its developmen­t program in 2022.

Junior developmen­t coordinato­r Rob Wren said the coaches were carefully selected to improve the skills of young players and provide a club culture which welcomes everyone interested in being a part of the action.

‘‘We’re really placing a lot more value on our junior program this season,’’ Wren said.

‘‘What we’re hoping is that our junior program becomes a really terrific learning ground for the kids, and it’s somewhere they can come and feel at home with what we’re doing at the club.

‘‘We want to make it a really enjoyable place to be.’’

The thirds will be under the leadership of

Chris Mitsch, with senior players Jayden Pitts and Jake McManus supporting him as assistant coaches. Both are new to assistant coaching, and will be mentored by Mitsch.

Mitsch was junior vice president at the Rams in 2018 and thirds coach in 2016.

Prior to 2016, he coached the Mathoura and Deni Rams senior sides respective­ly, and also coached the Rams thirds to a flag back in 1995.

Wren said a big part of fostering junior players was building their relationsh­ips with and pathways to the senior teams.

‘‘As a club we’re trying to get the seniors involved with the thirds program for some connectivi­ty,’’ he said.

‘‘By having the senior players help out with the coaching, it makes it easy for the junior players when they go play for the seniors.

‘‘And it gives us a chance to have a look at them (assistant coaches) as potential coaches for the older grades in the future,’’ he said.

Troy Bartlett will be at the helm of the Rams’ fourths side in 2022, after taking a break from coaching the seniors after 2019.

‘‘To have him with them again will be great, and all the coaches are great people to have looking after our juniors,’’ Wren said.

Leigh Strongman and Luke Moodie will co-coach the under 12s.

Strongman has had his fair share of play in the Murray League for the Rams’ seniors, including the premiershi­p-winning 2001 seniors team.

He was a mentor at the weekly Deniliquin Auskick training on Sundays last year, and continues to involve himself at the club as an organiser.

Moodie also has experience as a juniors mentor. In 2018 he coached the Goulburn Murray U15s side, a pipeline to the Under 18s Bendigo Pioneers, for which he was assistant coach between 2016 to 2018.

Wren said both men are ‘‘terrifical­ly qualified’’.

‘‘They’re both really experience­d and terrific fellas.’’

Wren has invited anyone who wants to get involved with the juniors sides — whether playing, coaching or volunteeri­ng — to come down to the club.

‘‘We put a bit into the junior girls this year, and our under 12s (junior developmen­t program) will continue on the way it has,’’ Wren said.

Rams coaches and volunteers helped facilitate a four week girls’ Auskick program to major success during winter, with more than 40 attending.

The club has remained open to starting up a girls’ football team in the future, to increase its junior options.

‘‘It’s just getting bigger and stronger,’’ Wren said.

■ Rams netball coaching announceme­nts will appear in a future edition.

 ?? ?? (From left) Troy Bartlett, Leigh Strongman and Luke Moodie.
(From left) Troy Bartlett, Leigh Strongman and Luke Moodie.
 ?? ?? (From left) Jayden Pitts, Chris Mitsch and Jake McManus.
(From left) Jayden Pitts, Chris Mitsch and Jake McManus.

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