Shepparton News

Blues have a Souter as they try to woo flag

- By Liam Nash

In the days passed since Murray Football League broadcast the decision to axe its finals system, residing football clubs from around the traps have begun organising ranks for next season.

Minor premier Tongala got on the front foot early, locking in Jordan Souter as senior coach for next year.

The Blues’ front man voiced his hunger to have a run in a grand final; his side came painstakin­gly close this year with a tabletoppi­ng 52-point season before COVID-19 stole away the opportunit­y.

“It’s given me motivation to go around again,” Souter said.

“You don’t really want to finish on that note.”

News gets better for the Blues’ faithful, with a large portion of Tongala’s noticeably decadent playing stocks sticking around for next season.

That only stirred Souter’s desire to sign on for another year after the Tonny train rolled through the competitio­n unbeaten this year without a major gong to show for it.

“From a playing group point of view, we’re pretty confident we’ll keep most of our list,” he said.

“There’s going to be some fire in the belly next year.

“Over the last two years we’ve probably had the best list we’ve had for 25 years and all of a sudden we haven’t been able to get results through whatever reason.

“We’re all keeping pretty positive about it (the season cancellati­on). There’s nothing the Murray league could have done, nothing as a club we could have done better — it’s just the way it goes.”

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Finley announced senior coach Tom Doyle had stepped down.

Following a frustratin­g 2-11 campaign which had the Cats finish 11th, Doyle signs off after three years at the helm — but will remain involved with the club next year.

‘‘I’ll still be around playing a bit of seconds, so if they need me, I’ll be there,’’ Doyle said.

‘‘It’s been a great place for me to coach — I just hope I have managed to pass a few things on to the guys and offer them some good lessons.”

As a Finley local, Doyle’s connection with the club has been centred around utilising home-grown talent to build a strong backbone within the Cats’ ranks.

Though results have not always favoured Finley in recent years, Doyle can gaze back proudly on the esprit de corps culture — playing not only for the badge, but each other — he’s helped cultivate at the club.

‘‘Being a former player, and growing up in Finley, I knew a lot of the young guys,’’ Doyle said.

‘‘And I tried during my time to build something new with them.

‘‘They don’t just fly-in, fly-out for the money, they do it because they’re part of a community and it’s fun.

‘‘That’s how you get more out of these younger guys.’’

The club is yet to announce a replacemen­t for Doyle.

 ??  ?? Sout-ing up again: Tongala has announced playing coach Jordan Souter will reassume his role next year.
Sout-ing up again: Tongala has announced playing coach Jordan Souter will reassume his role next year.

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