From the Herald Sun
Reported by Liam Twomey
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IT was a quiet off-season for AFL coaching moves with only Brisbane making the decision to make a change at the top.
But that same level of familiarity didn’t spread to the VFL.
Five AFL aligned clubs made coaching changes during the break, giving the competition a fresh look in 2017.
Find out who is coaching your club’s VFL side.
HAWTHORN (BOX HILL HAWKS)
Chris Newman hasn’t wasted any time furthering his career in football since retiring from Richmond.
The former Tiger has been called on to lead the Box Hill Hawks next season.
Newman originally joined the Hawks as a development coach and has impressed greatly in his short time at the club.
“I was a little bit daunted at the prospect of doing it because I haven’t coached my own team yet. But I am very excited and hopefully we can have a really good season,” Newman said.
Chris Newman will coach the Box Hill Hawks in 2017.
“I’m looking forward to working with the team and working with Box Hill. The players and the coaching staff they have got there are elite. They are a great club, have a great atmosphere and it is a great place to be. I’m looking forward to being part of that culture.”
Newman takes over the top job from Marco Bello who will be in charge of the Hawks’ development academy.
The changes were flowing at Collingwood this off-season.
However, it wasn’t just the senior side that was bringing in some fresh faces. The Magpies promoted former Melbourne and Geelong defender Jared Rivers to the VFL head coaching job.
He replaces outgoing VFL coach Dale Tapping who was poached by the Brisbane Lions.
Rivers joined the Magpies at the start of the 2016 season, taking on a development coaching role.
The 32-year-old has previously coached at Xavier College and assisted with Geelong’s VFL team.
Rivers is also completing the AFLPA’s Next Coach Program.
Tapping has left some big shoes to fill, with the Magpies finding the perfect balance between development and winning during his tenure, culminating in a preliminary final showing this year.
Retired Collingwood star Dane Swan declared Tapping would be a senior head coach one day.
Jared Rivers will lead Collingwood’s VFL side. Picture: Colleen Petch.
WESTERN BULLDOGS (FOOTSCRAY VFL)
After winning last year’s VFL premiership, the Bulldogs welcome a new leader in Steve Grace.
The Dogs poached Grace from Collingwood where he spent two years working under Nathan Buckley as an assistant coach.
The man who led Footscray to that flag, Ashley Hansen, has been promoted to work with the AFL side.
It is a case of one ex-Cat out, another ex-Cat in for Essendon.
After being coached by Matthew Egan last year, the Bombers will look to Paul Corrigan to continue the club’s development.
Corrigan has been an assistant coach at the Bombers since 2013.
“Paul’s coached at senior level outside the AFL system at three different clubs and had premiership success,” general manager of football operations Rob Kerr said.
“Post his playing career at Geelong, he was very keen to get into the coaching space and he’s done that over a long period of time now.
“He also stood in as VFL coach a couple of times last year so he comes to the role with a really rich history of experiences as a coach.”
Even with so many star players missing last season, the Bombers were still a strong VFL outfit.
Essendon battled into the top eight before knocking off Geelong in the opening week of the finals.
Lindsay Gilbee will coach the Sandringham Dragons. Picture: Getty Images
ST KILDA (SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS)
St Kilda’s VFL affiliate farewelled senior coach Paul Hudson at the end of the season.
His replacement will be former Western Bulldog Lindsay Gilbee.
Gilbee will combine his role as Sandringham coach with his duties at St Kilda, where he has worked for the past three years in a development role.
“After three years as an assistant coach, Lindsay has demonstrated the talent and aptitude that will enable him to manage the Zebras’ program,” general manager of football Jamie Cox said.
“His ability to care for and connect with players, as well as his experience working with junior and senior footballers in development at the Saints, will stand him in good stead in his new role.”
NORTH MELBOURNE (WERRIBEE)
North Melbourne will continue its full alignment with VFL club Werribee in season 2017.
Former North Melbourne development coach John Lamont will remain in the role as head coach.
Lamont has coached the Tigers since 2014.
Former number one draft pick Josh Fraser will return for his second year in charge at the Northern Blues.
Fraser, who played with Collingwood and the Gold Coast during a 218 game AFL career, coached the Blues to six wins last season.
Josh Fraser is the coach of the Northern Blues.
Shane O’Bree returns for his second year in charge at the Cats. O’Bree joined Geelong in 2013, working as a development and assistant coach in his first three years at the club. The Cats finished fifth in 2016 but were knocked out of the finals in the first week.
MELBOURNE (CASEY SCORPIONS)
Following last season’s grand final showing, the Scorpions have stuck with Justin Plapp for another season.
Triple premiership player Craig McRae will continue as coach the Tigers in 2017. McRae joined the club in 2016.
NON AFL ALIGNED CLUBS
Port Melbourne — Gary Ayres
Williamstown — Andrew Collins
Coburg — Peter German
North Ballarat — Marc Greig