Calder Cannons strengthen partnership with VFL side Coburg as TAC Cup graduates look to keep AFL dream alive
CALDER Cannons talent manager Ian Kyte would always toe the company line.
He would tell TAC Cup graduates who were not drafted by AFL clubs their best option was to head to VFL side Coburg, a traditional pathway club.
But deep down, he did not always believe what he was saying.
“Before I would be recommending that was a place that kids continue their career but I’m not sure I believed it myself,” Kyte said.
After splitting from its alignment with Richmond at the end of the 2012 season, some suggested Coburg would not survive a year as a stand-alone club.
How things have changed.
The Lions have thrived under the leadership of general manager Craig Lees and coach Peter German and building stronger bridges with the Cannons has been crucial to their success.
At least 22 of Coburg’s 60 listed players this year will be Calder graduates.
“If you look back to when Germo and I first got there at the start of 2014 there was maybe five Cannons on the list,” Lees said.
“No one wanted to go there. It wasn’t a pathway. So we’ve done really well.”
By the end of the 2014 season, Lees and German had a story to sell.