Kyabram Free Press

Girgarre coach Cupido aims arrow at the finals

- By Liam Nash

“It’s clear what my expectatio­ns are — the club hasn’t played finals for 21 years and that has got to change.”

That is precisely the kind of raw ambition Girgarre Football Club can expect out of its latest unveiling, Damian Cupido.

The Kangaroos have secured the services of the former Essendon and Brisbane forward as senior coach for seasons 2022 and 2023, signalling a push towards a long-awaited finals berth in the Kyabram District League.

“I’m really excited to get this opportunit­y; in my short coaching career I’ve had success and I hope to bring that to Girgarre,” Cupido said.

“We’ll be looking to make a bit of a splash come finals time next year.”

Cupido, a noted journeyman in the country football landscape, famously coached Rumbalara to a Murray Football League flag in 2014.

The 39-year-old has never taken the boots off since stepping down from the elite level, and will look to incite mayhem from the top of the goal square in blue and white next season.

“We are very excited at the prospect of having him here for this year and the next,” Girgarre president Brendon Nicholson said.

“He’s at a point where he wants to settle in, he’s adamant he wanted at least two years on his contract which we were rapt by.

“It’s a nice fit for the footy club and an opportunit­y for Damian to write a bit more of his coaching story before finishing his playing days. It’s a very mutually beneficial arrangemen­t.”

While KDL finals did not eventuate in 2021, Girgarre fell well short of the mark due to a run of injuries which plagued the club from top to bottom.

Nicholson said a dash of fortune, as well as a touch of Cupido class, might be all that was needed to cross over into the promised land — finals football.

“We’re not the only club to have a bad injury run this year, but I think we used nearly 90 players between our seconds and seniors in 11 games of football,” he said.

“Unfortunat­ely, Bill (outgoing coach Billy Barnes) and the boys didn’t get the opportunit­y to get a settled side together each week; we genuinely believe if we could’ve got our best team on the park regularly we would’ve finished in the top six.

“We don’t think we have to reinvent the wheel to get there, we just need to have a bit of luck and fill the odd deficiency the boys will identify on the list.”

Cupido won’t go it alone, noting he’ll be aided by John Wilson as assistant coach.

Wilson led Shepparton to a

Northern Country Women’s League flag in 2018, where Cupido was first convinced by his capabiliti­es as a mentor.

“We’re both football nuts — John coached the Bears to a flag with the women and did really well,” Cupido said.

“He is a really astute coach, he knows the game inside and out and I thought it might be a perfect pairing with him as my assistant.

“The expectatio­ns of myself and the coaching staff are high and with the recruits we’re bringing in it’ll add to the good core group.

“Going forward, it’s just about getting that right mix and knocking the game plan out to a tee.”

 ??  ?? Future planning: Damian Cupido has been appointed senior coach of Girgarre for seasons 2022 and 2023.
Future planning: Damian Cupido has been appointed senior coach of Girgarre for seasons 2022 and 2023.

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