ONBALLER Adam Courtney is again changing his stripes — from red and black to yellow and black.
Courtney has signed a two-year deal to coach Colac and District league club Simpson.
He takes over from Jason Cartwright, who endured a frustrating injury run during his two years at the helm.
Courtney played the bulk of his senior career at Cobden before crossing to Simpson in 2008.
He stayed for five seasons before returning to the Hampden league Bombers in 2013, playing 17 senior matches.
But the opportunity to coach prompted him to head back to the Tigers, where he made a name for himself as a clever ball-winner.
“In the long run the desire to coach, I’ve always had it,” he said yesterday.
“When I left last year, part of the reason was I didn’t think the coaching position would come up in the time I would be playing football.
“I thought Jason Cartwright would be there for a bit longer.”
Courtney said he got the coaching bug from his father John, who had guided cricket and football sides in the past.
He said Mark Adamson, who he played under at Goulburn Valley league club Kyabram in 2006, was the biggest influence on his coaching philosophy.
“Just going to that higher level of football, he taught me a fair bit,’’ he said.
“He was pretty hard on me when I got there.
‘‘He was the biggest influence I had.”
Courtney said there was “a lot of room for improvement” at Simpson, which finished ninth in the 11-team CDFL in 2013. He said the bulk of the Tigers’ frontline players had re-signed for 2014, although he was unsure about the future of key forward Nick Harding.
Brenton de Jong, Darcy Leishman, Jayden Rooke, Brock Neal and Chester Gardner are among emerging players he hoped could take develop further.
Courtney said the Tigers would be active during the off-season attempting to shore up their list.
A key defender, key forward and a classy midfielder are on their radar.
“Everyone has the ambition to play finals at the start of the year and that’s what we’ll have,” he said.
“It’ll be how we recruit and how they develop during the pre-season.
“The defensive side of Simpson was something that lacked when I was there.
“It’s something we have to develop if we want to push up the ladder.”
Courtney is the third Cobden player to leave for a coaching role.
Old Collegians announced returned Bomber Daryl Beechey as its coach last week, while Aidan Cole will guide Nirranda.