DEAKIN University coach Craig Fowler will give away arguably the hardest job in Warrnambool and District league football this weekend.
But he says he still wants to be part of the club’s future.
Fowler will end his two-year coaching tenure after the Sharks’ road trip to Allansford today.
The Mortlake resident yesterday said he had “thoroughly enjoyed the time”, even though season 2012 had been “long”.
He said the ties between the junior and senior sections of the club were stronger than ever.
But his successor had to improve the age balance of the senior playing list.
“We need to attract some players in the 25 to 30-year-old bracket to our club. That’s a bracket we didn’t have players in,” Fowler said.
“They’re players with a bit of senior experience under them, good-sized bodies and they’re still young. We’re looking to attract players, even blokes with young families that won’t float in and out for two or three years.
“We want them to come in and their kids go through the system and they play a bit of senior football.”
Fowler said season-ending injuries before and early in the campaign undermined the Sharks’ competitiveness.
Defenders Tom Coverdale (broken collarbone) and Lachie Cumming (broken leg) failed to play after round one.
Dave Dodemaide didn’t make it to round one, breaking an arm in a practice match.
Fowler said the Mortlake-Deakin University relationship had strengthened, with about a quarter of the senior side made up of Mortlake residents.
“It’s a process what we’re doing at the moment. It doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes time,” he said. “I think we’ve taken a step closer to making us more of a combined club.
“We’re getting more and more Mortlake people at the club, not just at the junior level but filtering into the senior level.”
Fowler nominated first-year Shark Brent Astle as a shining light and said Clinton Baker had been super in a leadership role.
He left the door open to remaining at the helm next season, but only if the club could not find someone suitable to take over.
“It’s been a very challenging job but I’ve got to meet good people and good kids,” he said.