Mag­pies se­cure Mor­gan

For­mer Be­nalla premier­ship coach ex­cited for new test

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY JEREMY WIL­SON jwil­son@ ne­me­dia.com.au

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.

PHOTO: Me­lanie Guy

PHOTO: Me­lanie Guy

WEL­COME: Wan­garatta pres­i­dent Tony Good­i­son (left) with new coach Luke Mor­gan.

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