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From The Moreland Leader
Reported by Geordie Cowan
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 Hamish Blair

New Coburg Football Club VFL coach Leigh Adams at Coburg City Oval. Picture: Hamish Blair

Leigh Adams ready to make his mark as Coburg’s VFL coach following career at AFL level

BORN in a Coburg premiership year of 1988, new coach Leigh ‘Patch’ Adams has been given the task of lifting the Lions back up the VFL ladder.

Fresh from leading unheralded South Croydon to a remarkable Eastern Football League Division 1 premiership, Adams replaces legendary coach Peter German, who was in charge for four years after Coburg’s return to a stand-alone club.

Leigh Adams looks to fire off a handball during his days at North Melbourne. Picture: Michael Klein.

The former North Melbourne player, who booted 72 goals from 104 games over eight years, retired from AFL in 2015 after a series of concussions.

Adams was “absolutely rapt” to earn a two-year contract with Coburg, with the challenge ahead the most appealing aspect.

“I’ve always wanted to take my coaching as far as I possibly could,” Adams said.

“The challenge of a VFL club is a huge acknowledgment for me. I’m under no illusions it will be an easy job, but I am looking forward to getting stuck in, challenging myself and my coaching philosophies on what I think will work and seeing the outcome at the end of it.

“I want to work with young blokes who are looking to play at the highest level of footy they can. Hopefully I can help them and the club on to bigger and better things.”

The 29-year-old takes over at an important time in Coburg’s history, with the club recently struggling for members and sponsors, while it forges into unknown territory without a Development League side in 2018 after the competition was disbanded.

The Lions finished 13th this year with just two wins in a difficult season.

Adams said there were a lot of things he wanted to work on.

On-field he is targeting a defence-first team with players “who really want to play for each other” in a “really strong game plan”, while off-field the focus is to be more of a community club.

“Not a destination club where they play for one or two years to get drafted and if they don’t, go back to their local club,” Adams said.

“I want to make it a real club that players identify with and want to have a long career there — play 100 or 150 games, become life members.

“This is a semi-professional club, so I expect blokes to take it really seriously, but there are also opportunities to become really close friends and be involved with each other in the community and outside of footy as well.”

Coburg general manager Sebastian Spagnuolo said the AFL Level 3-accredited coach impressed as an outstanding and hardworking individual.

“He’s been through some tough times with his concussion issues and he’s been able to get through some dark days. There’s definitely a great deal of resilience and character about him, which we were drawn to,” Spagnuolo said.

“Our young list will relate really well to him — they can’t wait to meet him.

 

“He also can’t wait to meet the group and get started.

“Leigh is big on culture and creating a really inclusive environment which provides players the opportunity to have a real stake in the club.

“We fully endorse and support that message.”

Coburg has about 15 existing players already contracted for 2018, including skipper Tom Goodwin and Nathan Blair.