At about 8.00am on Good Friday, Mulwala football’s assistant coach from last season, Jason Sanderson, received a call from club president David Rose to coach the Lions in their 2018 season’s first match, that day.
Last year’s highly regarded coach, Michael Tout, advised the club at the 11th hour of his resignation for personal reasons.
So the much decorated Sanderson stepped up to take over from his good mate Tout and the Lions beat Congupna 16.14.110 to 11.9.75.
But senior coaching is not new to Mulwala’s 39-year-old who has been appointed for season 2018.
In fact, as a playing coach, he led Jerilderie to two premierships, in 2009 and 2012 and to other finals’ appearances in his four-year stint as coach.
Sanderson’s football career started at Mulwala, with the club’s fourths. “Yes, started over the road where the retirement village is, which had Paterson’s Curse and Bindi Eye!” he told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
Then it was Mulwala Thirds, a few games in the Reserves and about 150 games in the Firsts.
Included in his seniors resume was the club’s top individual award, a best and fairest in 2003, representing the Murray league in 2005 and being assistant coach to Chris Kennedy. He also represented the NSW Country side which was victorious over Vic Country.
A plumber with Kennedy Builders, Sanderson also played for Yarrawonga and Lavington in the Ovens and Murray Football League.
Sanderson praised his predecessor who lifted Mulwala back into Murray Football League finals in his one season as coach at Lonsdale Reserve.
“I thought my time as coach was done,” Sanderson said of his mindset in 2016. “I had got a call from Michael to give him a hand.
“He’s a really good coach, particularly with the juniors. Michael introduced a game plan, zones and improved the team. He was very good. ‘Keya’ was also a very good coach.”
Asked about season 2018, the super fit former midfield/forward player Sanderson said: “We’re building what Michael Tout has established with his game plan. We have a very young side but we have more depth compared with last year’s, which is good.
“Hopefully we’re just building into something. The three recruits Michael brought up are still coming which is great.” Those three key players are century goalkicker last season Ash Froud, ruckman Hamish Hosking and rover Ross Ansaldi.
Mulwala Football Netball Club President David Rose said the club has full confidence in this season’s senior coach.
“Jason has an intricate understanding of Mulwala Football Club. He’s a best and fairest player with us, an interleague player and a premiership coach with Jerilderie Football Club which is truly admirable,” the president said.
“He will be assisted by Michael Fletcher and Clinton Shand.”
Mr Rose expressed the club’s appreciation for Michael Tout’s services. “We support Michael’s personal reasons behind his decision. His services were greatly appreciated and we wish him all the best personally and to his family.”