JARROD Holt says the chance to lead a fledgling club with an exciting young list prompted him to take on Hamilton Kangaroos’ coaching position.
The former Portland mentor has signed a two-year deal with the Kangaroos, replacing non-playing coach Mick Edmonds.
Holt, 31, led the Tigers for three seasons — their final two in the Western Border league and their Hampden league debut campaign.
North Warrnambool Eagles midfielder Jake Myles was appointed Portland coach in September, edging out Holt.
Holt said the chance to extend his playing-coach career lured him to Melville Oval.
“I probably didn’t realise I had the opportunity in front of me until that ended,” he said.
“It was a tough decision to leave Portland, a club that’s been good to me for a long time, but I thought it was an opportunity I wouldn’t get in the future as a playing coach.
“Hamilton was professional in the way they went about it.”
Holt said Hamilton Kangaroos, which won four matches in their first season, had a promising list which would develop with direction and patience.
“Looking at the playing list, they have an exceptional young, talented group on the way up,” he said. “Hopefully I can develop them and make them the base of the side.
“They have a few guys there who are established as well.”
Holt said Edmonds had thrown his support behind him.
“He was pleased with the appointment of myself as coach and said if he could help out in any way which was really pleasing,” Holt said.
The Kangaroos will start pre-season on November 11.
“Hopefully we’ll set a good fitness base up, with a young side we’ll look to be a hard-running side,” Holt said.
“We’ll try and do alternative things in the pre-season to try and keep people there and we’ll have the footies out from night one and make sure the boys’ use is crisp because that’s pretty important now.”
Hamilton Kangaroos chairman Paul Block said the club was thrilled to land Holt.
“Jarrod is the ideal person we were after,” he said.
“Not only is he a great addition to our forward line and midfield, he has great morals and values and the current players will be excited to start the 2014 season under his guidance.”
Holt has played football in South Australia and for Ballarat league club Bacchus Marsh. Portland is the Hampden league representative’s home club.
Holt said leaving Hanlon Park was a difficult choice and that he carefully weighed up his decision.
“I think I played 180-odd senior games for Portland,” he said.
“I’ve been back and forth a bit but Portland is my home club.
“It was really tough leaving Portland and telling the boys I was leaving.
“They have been good and understanding of my decision and most people have wished me all the best, which is nice.”
Holt’s appointment as Kangaroos leader completes the Hampden league’s coaching jigsaw puzzle.
Seven of the 10 clubs have unveiled new senior coaches.