NEW Merrivale coach Karl Dwyer is hesitant to bestow expectations on the Tigers — and for good reason.
“I haven’t seen a District league game in I don’t know how long,” he said.
‘‘I’m not going to make a prediction.
“Hopefully we play finals and when I leave the club is in a better spot.
‘‘That’s my goal.”
Tigers officials yesterday unveiled onballer Dwyer, 31, as the man to replace Jason Porter at the helm of the yellow-and-black army.
He takes on the job after a decorated 246-game career at Koroit — four short of earning Hampden league life membership.
The three-time premiership player captained the Saints in 2009 and was an assistant coach in 2011.
Dwyer, a physical education teacher and father-of-three, said he was “always pretty keen to get into coaching”.
A friendship with Merrivale president Paul Fish convinced him the Tigers were the right club to launch his mentoring career.
He was reluctant to put his hand up for the Koroit job at the end of 2012, adamant the Saints needed an outside influence to rejuvenate the club.
That man was ultimately Adam Dowie, one of a host of coaches who have influenced the way Dwyer will guide the Tigers.
“I’ve played under some good coaches — (Jason) Mifsud, (Andrew) Foster, the two McLarens (Joe and Chris) and now Dowie,” he said.
“I’ll hopefully take little bits from all of those. But you’ve got to remember it’s country footy and you can’t get too carried away.
“It’s going to be a learning experience for me. I’m looking forward to that.”
Dwyer said Merrivale was on the hunt for a key defender, key forward and some size to go through the midfield. The gaps in its list were evident during a heavy defeat to Dennington in the first semi-final at Mack Oval last season.
Dennington forward Chris Keilar was too good for everyone bar Sam Green and the Dogs convincingly won the midfield.
Merrivale managed just nine goals that day and rarely blew opponents out of the water during the season.
James Fary was the leading goalkicker with 36 goals. The next best, Jason Porter with 23, will not feature next season.
Utility Todd McLean is also set to spend more time as a key backman.
“There aren’t massive gaps. We’ll try and pick up a few recruits and work with what we’ve got,” he said.
“There will be a lot of handball (in the game plan).
‘‘It’s a pretty young, quick team.
“We’ll be trying to get the footy and run, bring that defensive side into it.
“I’d like to have a chat to Jase Porter and see what he did.
‘‘The game plan is still a pretty basic thought in my head.”
Fish said the club was rapt with quality of the appointment.
“The club is really happy. He’s a premiership captain and player,” he said.
“To get someone who has played that much Hampden league footy is great.”