Mulwala’s senior football team will be the most settled in the 14 years that the club’s football manager, Dale Ferguson, has been in his role.
“It’s healthy,” he told the Yarrawonga Chronicle. “It’s a stable group with the youth – a tight-knit bunch of boys looking for success and disappointed with last season’s finish (lost the elimination final by seven points).
“They realise they were close to playing in the grand-final. Ninety-nine per cent of the group from last year are still with us which is great.
“We have two mature-age recruits from Aberfeldie in Melbourne – Jack Barnes and Rhys Moylan – and we’ve retained Billy Barton and Reece Geary from McLeod in Melbourne.”
Barnes, about 6’5”, will play ruck and Moylan is an onballer. Barton and Geary will be in their second year with the Lions.
Much decorated coach Jason Sanderson will have, for the first time, an assistant playing coach in brilliant onballer, 23-year-old Jackson Gash.
Gash replaces former players Mick Fletcher and Clinton Shand who will still be involved with the club.
After last season, Gash was sought by a larger club but the dual club best and fairest winner in 2018 and 2019 is staying put.
“Jackson was courted elsewhere for season 2020 but with the friendship and closeness of the playing group at Mulwala, and the fact that he considers there’s some unfinished business, he’s staying with us,” Ferguson said. “He’s so keen he’s started training before the official pre-season started.”
Non-playing coach Sanderson has an excellent track record, being a Murray League medallist, a best and fairest winner at Mulwala, representing the league on many occasions and helping NSW to win the Australian Championships in 2002.
His coaching stint at Jerilderie from 2009 to 2012 resulted in two premierships, in 2009 and 2012, and where he claimed three best and fairest awards. So there’s coaching talent aplenty on and off-field for the seniors which will filter down through the whole club.
Mulwala Reserves will have joint coaches in son-of-a-gun Lach Orr and Nathan Beasley. “They are exciting, popular choices and the announcement was well received by their playing peers,” Ferguson said. They replace non-playing coach Mick Fletcher.
Orr is the son of Peter (Kanga) Orr who was a dashing forward flanker of yesteryear and has since been an excellent clubman.
Mulwala’s Thirds coaching will again be undertaken by the scintillating speedster Denis (Pickles) Phibbs who has a wonderful record of over 400 senior games with Yarrawonga and Mulwala, starred in two flags for Mulwala, coached the Reserves to the 2007 premiership, has represented the O and M League four times and the Murray League on five occasions.
The man that opponents couldn’t catch on the field will be assisted by Ash Gove who coached the Under 14s last season. Gove played his junior football at Warracknabeal before arriving at Mulwala in 2004 and will add to his playing record of seniors and reserves games.
Another son-of-the gun Brandon Kreeck will replace Gove at the helm of the Fourths. Kreeck played all his junior football at Lonsdale Reserve, booted plenty of goals to win Under 14 and Reserves goalkicking awards and notched up many senior and reserve matches for the Lions.
The son of Leon (Mick) Kreeck is also a respected and popular selection as coach.
“The keenness on the training track at this early stage is heartening and we will be announcing our netball coaches shortly,” the football manager concluded.