THE man who steered Russells Creek to the 2000 Warrnambool and District league premiership will again lead the club more than a decade on.
Kangaroos officials yesterday unveiled Jay Everall, 37, as coach for seasons 2014 and 2015, with an option for a third year.
Everall, who replaces Darren Little at the helm, was a playing coach when Russells Creek defeated Deakin University by seven points to win the 2000 flag.
He will oversee matches from the sidelines this time around — the first non-playing coach at the club since Peter Anderton in 1990.
Everall said he was upbeat about returning to where his football career began as a teenager more than two decades ago.
His football resumé includes years at Russells Creek, Port Fairy, Penshurst and Old Collegians, a journey highlighted by three flags and two coaching stints.
“I’m at the stage now where my playing days are pretty much over,” Everall said.
“I happened to be catching up with a couple of guys I remain close with (at Russells Creek).
“They mentioned they were chasing a coach, along with a couple of other clubs in the district.
“Ideally they were looking for a playing coach but they said they’d consider a non-playing coach if they could find one.
“One thing led to another and it’s panned out the way it did.”
Everall was part of the Russells Creek “legends” side which took on Deakin University as part of the Big Red Day charity match mid-season.
The experience allowed him to reconnect with former teammates and Creek officials and sowed the seeds for his return as coach.
His appointment has had the added bonus of delivering his brother Brad Everall and cousin Troy McCormack from Penshurst — the Kangaroos’ first recruits.
Everall said Russells Creek needed to add experience and speed to its list if it was going to push for finals.
There are few senior footballers who have played more than 100 matches in a blue-and-white jumper, while the side sorely lacked outside run last season.
“No doubt we need to improve. I’m hopeful we can get some natural improvement out of the guys already there,” he said.
“That will be the plan across the summer, to make sure guys have a good understanding of what their role will be.”
Everall said his game plan would be built around moving the ball quickly and hitting key targets — potentially Brad Everall and Eddie Jacobs — up forward.
“You need that natural speed, if you can, involved in the game plan. That comes down to whether you’ve got the cattle or not,” he said.
“But you have to move the footy quickly, try and give your forwards as good a chance as you can. The only District league game I’ve seen this year was the grand final at the weekend.
“It also stood out if you’ve got a couple of key forwards to aim at it makes a world of difference.”
Russells Creek chairman of football Glenn Bidmade described Everall as “a good clubman” who could help rebuild the Kangaroos.
He said the club had three under 17½ players who would handle the step-up to seniors next season.
“The first, second and third in the best and fairest should all play seniors next year,” he said.