FORMER Hamilton Kangaroos coach Jake Myles says he is putting more experience and team success ahead of money by signing with North Warrnambool Eagles for this season.
After training with the Kangaroos on Monday night, the dynamic midfielder ended a tumultuous three weeks by deciding to leave one of the Hampden Football Netball League’s newest clubs.
The Standard understands Myles received lucrative offers from at least three other clubs in the region.
It is understood he accepted an assistant coaching role with the Eagles for a considerably lower sum than those offered by rival suitors, making the deal one of the biggest recruiting moves of the off-season.
In the small farming community of Hawkesdale, mid-way between his Hamilton base and the Eagles’ home ground at Bushfield, Myles inked the one-year deal with North’s recruiting supremo Graeme Twaddle on Tuesday night.
“I’m a handshake kind of person but they wanted pen on paper and I could understand that,” the 27-year-old said.
“I knew as soon as I made a decision it would be like a weight off me.
“I’m pretty flat out at work, we are getting drainage works down (at the Hamilton racecourse). A weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
“I tossed and turned for a week.
“I only came to the decision after training on Monday night with the Kangaroos. It just hit me.
“I decided it was the best fit for me (to go to the Eagles).
“It wasn’t about money at all, it was about me going forward.”
Myles, who had said he had been determined to contribute to the Kangaroos’ debut season after his axing in January, revealed “trust issues outside the football field” made his presence untenable.
He said speculation surrounding the reasons for his sacking were hurtful.
“The rumours have to stop,” he said.
“I’ve heard them all and they are untrue.
“Before you start spreading them and talking about them, if you aren’t 100 per cent sure they are right, there are people’s reputations and careers at stake. They are not true.”
Myles said he had an agreement with the club that he wouldn’t discuss the Kangaroos’ reasons for replacing him with Mick Edmonds.
The club last month said in a statement the new team had created a lot of emotional debate in the town.
“To place Jake in the position of senior coach and ambassador for the new club at this stage of his career is unfair and unsustainable,” it said.
Myles said he had endured a tough period.
“Shock, anger, stress and now relief,” was how he described his emotions since the Kangaroos’ decision.
Those feelings had now been replaced with a sense of excitement.
“Obviously I’m going to have to get in there and work hard,” he said.
“I will be working with the midfield and working with David (Haynes).
“It will take a bit of pressure off him.”
Myles said the Eagles’ mix of good, young players aged between 18 and 24 was one of the reasons he opted to join the club.
He said after the club made the preliminary final last year — its highest finish since joining the league in 1997 — he hoped to help it go further in 2013.
“You don’t play footy for money. Yeah, there is an opportunity. The money is going to be out there. But the reason I chose North is I think they have some pretty high ambitions,” he said.
“They played in a preliminary final last year, they have been building for a couple of years. They have a good crop of 18 to 24-year-olds and a good group of senior players.
“I just felt this was the right fit going forward. I think they will be pretty competitive.”
Myles, who will continue to live and work in Hamilton, said he wanted to coach again in the future, with his stint at the Eagles giving him a chance to further develop his skills.
He will also have an on-field leadership role, with the immediate playing future of one of last year’s assistants Herb Barlow unclear as he recovers from multiple breaks in his leg.
Myles’ noted ball-winning ability is a significant plus for the Eagles, which lost midfielder Josh Parkinson to coach at Allansford.
Eagles president Michael Harrison said he was delighted Myles had signed with the club, capping a productive off-season.