POPULAR South Warrnambool figure Danny Finn is looking to extend his family’s long-running connection with the Roosters despite hanging up his boots.
Finn, who was co-captain of South Warrnambool’s most recent premiership in 2011, formally announced the end of his playing days on Thursday night after a persistent knee injury prevented him playing a game this season.
The 33-year-old will be in the Roosters’ coaching box today as he officially begins a new chapter in his football life. He will work closely with the Roosters’ defenders as the back line coach.
He grew up in the red and white, following his father Noel, who played at the club and his grandfather “Funnel” Johnson, whose involvement stretched back to before World War II.
“It’s an honour to play for the club,” he said.
The Warrnambool College teacher started preparing for life after playing several weeks ago when he began running development sessions on Monday nights for 12-year-olds through to seniors.
Finn revealed he had reached the decision to end his playing career “a week or two” ago.
“I’m disappointed to finish up the way I have (injured) but I’m pretty happy to have made the decision.”
Finn’s career included 180 senior games and two premierships (2006 and 2011). He was joint coach in 2008-09 with the late Stephen Kelson. He only had two years away from the club — the first in 2003 when he played at Broadbeach in Queensland and the second in 2007 when he was an assistant coach under John Northey at Ballarat after moving there for work.
He started as a wingman/half-back under Leigh McCluskey and Peter Umbers but it was under former Adelaide Crow Bryan Beinke that he blossomed on a wing in the 2006 premiership.
He has played just about every position.
In 2011, coach Nigel Kol used him as a half-forward, changing on the ball with co-captain Jarrod Thompson.
He played 18 games in 2011 but only managed eight in 2012 and six last year as injuries took their toll, especially the knee complaint which has dogged him for the past 18 months.
Finn has no regrets. He enjoyed a golden run as a junior through the club’s various age groups and then TAC Cup side Geelong Falcons.
“I would have played in 10 grand finals in a row before I was 17 or 18,” he said.
“Then I had to wait until 2006 for my first senior one and that was seven years after I started in the seniors.”
Finn never won an individual award in his career.
But that wasn’t why he played the game — he played for the team. That attitude remains.
“I have aspirations to coach again or remain in the development side of things,” Finn said.
“I’m happy to be involved and help improve the young kids.”