SOUTH Warrnambool coach Matthew Peake is unsure of his football future after deciding against seeking a third year at the helm.
Peake, who grew up following his father Robert at the club, will vacate the post after next week’s game, with his dream of coaching the Roosters to a flag unfulfilled.
The 37-year-old told players this week he would not pursue a contract extension.
Peake said the club’s decision several weeks ago to chase a playing coach had contributed to his move, not the Roosters’ 1-15 win-loss record.
Last week he told The Standard he was keen for a third year, wanting to finish developing the club’s young talent after 20 players made their senior debut this season.
“I’m disappointed,” he said.
“I haven’t been given any particular feedback to say I have been doing the wrong things.
“It came across from the club ‘if we can’t find someone better, you can have the job’ and I felt a little bit uncomfortable with that.
“They obviously feel there is someone out there better suited to the football club and to take them forward.”
He said his tenure would be defined by the emerging talent.
“The most disappointing thing is you don’t get to follow through with all the kids you’ve developed,” he said.
“This year we have had 20 debutants, the year before we had seven or eight. Over the two years there have been close to 30 debutants.
“Regardless of how it’s been played out behind the scenes, to not see that work come to fruition is the hardest thing for me.”
Peake said South was well placed for next season.
“We’ve fast-tracked a whole heap of kids and if they continue their development and South recruit two or three quality players and don’t have the injuries we have had, they won’t be far away,” he said.
He said he wasn’t bitter.
“I don’t hold any grudges against South,” he said.
Peake said he was unsure what his football future held. But he can expect to be the target of several Warrnambool and District league clubs.
While he has had an injury-interrupted season, he has been good across half-back for the Roosters, providing leadership and drive.
“There might be coaching opportunities, but I’m not 100 per cent sure what I’ll do,” Peake said.
“If I stay in the Hampden league, I would stay at South.
“I haven’t ruled out taking a complete break from footy.”
Peake, who started his junior career at South before crossing to Warrnambool when his dad was appointed under 18 coach, said he wanted to finish on a high today against the Blues and next week.
Peake started his senior career at Warrnambool while in the under 18s and played more than 40 games before moving away. His return to Warrnambool at the start of the 2011 season saw him join South, but a late-season injury saw him squeezed out of the Roosters’ premiership side. He was a member of the club’s reserves flag.
He is sticking with a long-range plan to stand aside today for a younger player to measure himself against reigning premier Warrnambool.
Peake said his inexperienced line-up had shown plenty in recent weeks.
“It’s a good test for our guys this week,” he said.
“Whichever way it goes, the young guys have to run with an opponent and they have to learn from them. It will be interesting to see how it pans out.”
South has just three players from its 2011 premiership side named for today’s game.
Warrnambool, beaten by 41 points in that decider, has 10 from that side and 17 from last year’s triumphant team.
Blues coach Scott Carter said the four points were critical given that the top four sides were separated by just one win.
“Your first thought is to win the game,” he said.
“Percentage is in the back of your mind. Anyone who says they are not thinking about percentage is telling fibs.
“We will be looking to control the controllables — our work rate, our concentration and when they are up we are a hard side to play against. We just have to keep producing our best footy.”