Magpies secure Morgan
Former Benalla premiership coach excited for new test
WANGARATTA has opted for home grown talent as it looks to remain a force in the Ovens and Murray with former player Luke Morgan (pictured right) confirmed as the Magpies’ new coach.
Morgan was officially announced as Dean Stone’s successor at the Norm Minns Oval yesterday, with the former Benalla premiership coach inking a one-year deal with Wangaratta.
While Stone didn’t announce his resignation until after last month’s grand final defeat, Wangaratta officials were aware of the decision and locked away Morgan very quickly.
The 29-year-old has spent the past six years with the Goulburn Valley club and led the Saints to finals each year as well as winning the 2015 grand final.
“I’m really excited about it,” Morgan said.
“When the position presented itself I immediately thought to myself it was something I wanted to do.
“We worked through the process and it’s been finalised over the last month.”
While Morgan is best known for his six-year stint at Benalla, he is far from an unfamiliar figure in the Wangaratta community.
Morgan played junior football with Kangaroos in the Wangaratta junior competition before graduating through to the Wangaratta Rovers thirds and Murray Bushrangers.
After co-captaining the Bushrangers to the TAC Cup final in 2007, Morgan joined VFL club Northern Bullants where he played in consecutive grand finals.
He returned to Wangaratta where he played 19 games for the Magpies in 2011, kicking 32 goals before again moving back to Melbourne for the 2012 season prior to his tenure with Benalla.
“I did want to get back into the Ovens and Murray and I am a Wangaratta person so it was appealing in that way,” he said.
“It was difficult to leave the Benalla Football Club because they’ve been great for me and I think I’ve been good for them.
“Now that the decision is made it’s one I look forward to but it was very difficult to leave.”
Winner of the Goulburn Valley’s Morrison Medal in 2013, Morgan will be the Magpies’ first playing coach since Judd Porter held the role from 2010 to 2012.
Morgan praised the work of his predecessor, Stone, although he was looking to make his own mark on the side.
“I’ll look to bring another edge and my style to the football club and one that I can see might improve the team next season,” he said.
“They played really well and were really close so the expectations will be high.
“We’ll work through the list management over the next few weeks and work out what we need, areas we need to improve and ways to get better.
“A second key forward is an area we look at straight away, extra midfield depth as well and also some more run from the backline.
“I’m really big on developing players so that development might come from players that are already there.”
But while Morgan is hoping Wangaratta’s production of quality under 18 graduates continues in 2019, he admitted that having held a number of roles throughout his senior career meant he would be making some phone calls.
“Obviously being in the GV for the last six years I’ve got some contacts there and around,” he said.
“Wangaratta came awfully close to winning it this year so with some extra development we hope there isn’t too much needed.
“If we could get a couple of players though, you wouldn’t turn them away.”
A former Goulburn Valley representative coach, Morgan said his first priority was settling into the Magpies’ role, however, he didn’t rule out getting involved in the O&M interleague campaign in 2019.
WELCOME: Wangaratta president Tony Goodison (left) with new coach Luke Morgan.