DARYL Beechey says he is not daunted by the challenge of lifting Old Collegians up the Warrnambool and District league ladder.
Old Collegians yesterday unveiled the Cobden onballer as the man to spearhead their revival on the football field.
The Warriors endured a winless season in 2013 after off-season departures forced co-coaches Nathan Forth and Jamie McKenzie to blood raw teenagers.
But enthusiasm has returned with the establishment of coterie group Once Were Warriors and the recruitment of ready-made players.
Beechey headlines the arrivals at Davidson Oval and will have a tone-setting role through the midfield and down back.
Other recruits include Tim Annett and James Martelloni from Heathmere and Hawkesdale-Macarthur’s Stephen Whythe.
Annett has kicked 97 goals the past two seasons, including 77 at Westerns in 2012 when the Kangaroos made the grand final.
Justin Lynch and James Ryan, members of the 2011 grand final side, will return to the club, as will Aaron Williams who spent last season playing cricket in England.
The left-field addition is ruckman Darren Lloyd, an interleague and Victoria Country representative from Loddon Valley league club Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
Forth will remain and will have a senior leadership role while McKenzie has taken up a job opportunity at Kalgoolie, Western Australia.
Beechey said he was excited about what Old Collegians could achieve as they rebuild their senior football ranks.
“They really struggled this year,’’ Beechey told The Standard.
‘‘I saw it as an opportunity to try and make a difference and help turn the club around and get them back up and about,” he said.
“Hopefully we can achieve that over the next couple of years.
‘‘Their professionalism was very high the way they went about approaching me.”
Beechey said he had no hesitations signing on as coach, despite the club coming from a long way back.
He said his acceptance of the job reflected his playing style.
“I’m not afraid to play on the better players or take on a challenge,” he said.
“I’m 100 per cent committed to this and I’ll do the very best I can with what I’ve got.
“That’s where I stand out.
‘‘If we do the best we can, wherever we finish I’ll be happy.”
Beechey grew up at Cobden and played all his juniors with the Hampden league club.
He was a member of the Bombers’ 2007 grand final side before work and family lured him to Perth in 2008.
Beechey joined the fledgling Secret Harbour Dockers and won back-to-back flags in 2011-12, captaining the club in the second season.
He rejoined Cobden upon his return in 2013. Coaching was never on the radar until offers started coming his way.
“The more I thought about it, the more I got excited about it, thought it could be a good way to get into it,” he said.
In other coaching news coming out of Davidson Oval, premiership-winning netball coach Lisa Arundell will remain at the helm of the A grade side.
Arundell had to re-apply for the position but club officials had no hesitation in retaining her for a fourth season.