THE final piece of the Warrnambool and District football coaching puzzle has fallen into place.
Veteran onballer Brad Wiggins will remain at the helm of Nirranda after the Blues’ extensive search for a coach ended with the man already in the job.
Wiggins had told club officials he would step away from the job if they could find the right person to take over from him.
They agreed — despite wanting the former Cobden champion to stay on — but came back to him when their search was unsuccessful.
The appointment means all 12 WDFNL clubs have senior football coaches for season 2013.
Six have signed new coaches, while the other six — including grand finalists Panmure and Kolora-Noorat — have kept faith with existing leaders.
Wiggins, who will coach Nirranda for a third season, said he was excited about the Blues’ prospects for season 2013.
They finished eighth in 2011 and 2012, but were unlucky not to be closer to the top five in the campaign just gone.
“It’s been a long couple of months trying to find the right person to take over. No one wants to commit to the coaching job,” Wiggins said.
“It’s a hard gig and I don’t blame people. But in the end it’s getting to the middle of November.
“I thought another three weeks chasing someone might not have prevailed. I might as well say yes now. Then we can get the ball rolling. The club has spoken to a lot of players the past couple of months,” he said.
“They’ve had no answers back because there’s been that uncertainty. We can knock that on the head, we have a coach now.”
Wiggins said he was confident Nirranda would retain the bulk of its list, although university looms large for a handful of its young players.
The club hopes to recruit frontline onballers and a key forward, and has signed one quality footballer — Terang Mortlake onballer Nathan Couch.
“He’d be straight into our leadership group this year, just thinking about it,” Wiggins said.
“All his mates are at Nirranda, he lives and has grown up at Nirranda, hangs out with the Nirranda boys at the weekend.
“It’s not like he’s coming not knowing anyone. He’ll slot straight in.”
Nirranda president Anthony Foster said he was rapt Wiggins wanted to coach again.
“Brad has strong support from the players and 100 per cent support from the committee,” he said.
“Had he decided in July or August he wanted to continue he would’ve been appointed on the spot.”
Nirranda will have its annual meeting this weekend, and assistant and netball coaching appointments are in the pipeline.
Foster said the Blues would also establish junior football and netball sub-committees to help them take the next step on the field and court.