SOUTH Warrnambool has turned to one of its favourite sons to lead its Hampden league revival.
Matthew Monk, 37, will serve as non-playing coach of the Friendly Societies’ Park club for season 2014 and 2015.
He replaces Matthew Peake in the top job. Peake had served three years but decided against pursuing a contract extension.
Monk said he was excited about coaching the club where he made his senior debut in 1995.
He spent four of his first five senior seasons at the Roosters, split by a one-year term at Ballarat club Lake Wendouree in 1997.
A second stint at Lake Wendouree preceded time at Terang Mortlake, Townsville club University Hawks, Irrewarra-Beeac and Dennington.
He had 2009 away from football but made a popular homecoming to South Warrnambool the following year.
“I’ve got a long history here at the footy club,” Monk said.
‘‘Probably the overriding reason for me is I’ve got a family that’s fairly entrenched at junior level.
“I guess I’m excited about the challenge that I can help shape the footy club to some degree so my kids can be involved.
“I see that in some of my ex-teammates have kids coming through, I played with some of them this year.”
Monk inherits the youngest list in the Hampden league and faces a major challenge to lift South Warrnambool off the bottom of the ladder.
The club handed debuts to 18 players aged 20 or under this season, undertaking a major rebuild following an exodus the previous season.
The strategy bodes well for the future but has meant the Roosters have endured short-term pain.
They won just one game this season, against Port Fairy in round five, but lost another five by six points or less.
Key-position players are their first recruiting targets but Monk said he would also attempt to lure back former players.
“I don’t think many would look at it and say we’re in a dire situation,” he said.
“We’ve got terrific depth, we’ve got a lot of young talent. In saying that, young guys aren’t going to win you a heap of games either.
“We’ve got to develop them, we’ve got to recruit. With recruiting, obviously you’re trying to get every possible player that’s available or comes to the district.
“But here at South we’ve got a really enormous opportunity to recruit internally.
“Since the premiership two years ago we’ve lost 30 players.
“That’s certainly got to be a starting point.”
Monk said player management was his strength as a coach.
He said it was “too early to tell” how his football philosophies would translate on to on-field efforts.
“I really just want to get that hunger back in the group, which I don’t deny was there this year,” he said.
“But we need to get a positive attitude around the place and some hunger and belief.”
He believed outgoing coach Peake had left an impressive legacy, with South “forever indebted to him”.
“I know he’s indicated he could possibly stick around,” he said.
‘‘I would love it if he did, because he’s got a lot to offer.
“You’re measured as a coach how you leave the place and I reckon he’s left it in really good nick.”
In other coaching appointments at South Warrnambool, Jacob Rhodes will remain at the helm of the reserves.
Damian Thornton has the reins of the under 18s, having coached the 16s to a premiership last season.