RE-SIGNED East Warrnambool coach Paul Butters says the Bombers remain committed to providing opportunities for young footballers.
Butters will serve a fourth season as coach in 2015, ensuring their climb up the Warrnambool and District league ladder continues with a familiar face at the helm.
But the 37-year-old is unsure whether he will play on. He is keen not to deny a young footballer the chance to make their mark at senior level.
“It’s one of those things, I thought about (whether to remain as coach) for a fair bit,” Butters said yesterday.
“But with so many of the younger lads committing and me expressing to them the need to play 80 or 100 games, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t stick with them.
“Just to get a few extra wins this year, compared to last year, and the general improvement of the younger lads, there are some good things on the horizon.
“Last pre-season was the first time we got to use the gym. Another six months for some of these younger lads, they’ll improve through the roof.”
The announcement coincides with East Warrnambool sitting ninth on the Warrnambool and District league ladder with a 4-13 record after 17 rounds.
Victory against Russells Creek this weekend would be win number five — the same number the Bombers have achieved the past four seasons.
The improvement has come on the back of a youth-first philosophy which Butters said would remain at the forefront in 2015.
“I really had no other way of doing it. We can’t really go out and get an A grade player and give them x amount,” Butters said.
“We have to sell the club through opportunities and facilities, they’re the two big things...that’s the way we’ve done it and we’ll continue to do it.”
He cited onballer Chris Edwards, who has become a frontline player after grasping an opportunity presented to him, as proof the approach was working.
“Now he’s the captain of the club within three years. His opportunity to show what ability he’s got was maximised at East,” Butters said.
“He’s loving the place. The same with your Jono Malones, your Simon Tindalls.
“Cale Jarvis has jumped on board, thought it was a good opportunity for him and is enjoying it. There are 10 or 12 of them.”
Butters said about 15 players had committed to play for East Warrnambool next season, buoying hopes of further success.
Recruiting will target key-position players, although the coach wants players with “good attitudes and who want some opportunities to play senior footy”.
“With Glenn Manton coming down the other night, he said the next two weeks are so important,” he said.
“If we can get our four or five wins for the year, people can see you’re improving.
“You can look to get six or seven wins next year and eight, nine or 10 the year after. That’s what we’re aiming for.”