KEY onballer Jake Myles will coach a new Hamilton football side as it embarks on a landmark Hampden Football Netball League season.
Myles yesterday received confirmation he had won the job to lead the still-to-be-named club in its debut Hampden campaign in 2013.
The club’s interim board adopted a recommendation from a three-member selection panel to appoint the 2012 Hamilton Imperials mentor.
The panel included North Ballarat Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald, former North Warrnambool Eagles coach Leigh McCluskey and Chris White, who has coached Harrow-Balmoral and Edenhope-Apsley.
Myles said he was “privileged” to coach the merged Hamilton and Hamilton Imperials side as it made club and Hampden league history. He said laying a foundation for the club to grow from was his number one priority. “We’re not talking premierships but definitely we hope to be a very competitive outfit,” he said. “But it’s about creating a culture first and obviously developing the kids and being respected on and off the field.”
The Standard understands Myles was one of four candidates in line for the coaching job. His appointment will help the new side retain the 2012 Imperials squad, but questions remain over whether current Hamilton players will remain on board.
Myles spent the majority of his career at Tuggeranong in Canberra before a one-year stint at Zillmere in Brisbane and three years at Sturt in Adelaide.
He signed with Imperials this season after taking on the general manager job at Hamilton Racing Club, and led the side to fourth spot.
“I’m excited. I’m glad it’s out of the way so we can move on and start working on the pre-season, retaining players,” he said.
“There is a lot of work to go into that. It’s a real privilege to be the senior coach of a Hamilton team in the Hampden league.
“Hopefully the community gets behind us and hopefully it’s a team that kids from the surrounding areas and Hamilton can aspire to.”
Myles said the new club would need to recruit a ruckman, but he was buoyed by the number of young players on the Hamilton and Imperials lists.
“I’d be worried if we had too many 27-to-30-year-olds, but from both clubs the age group is very young.”
Myles left the door open for 2012 Hamilton coach Brad Thomas to have a role in the new side.
But he said it would be difficult for Thomas to play under a former rival having already been a senior coach.
“Once you get the coaching job and once you are coach, it’d be hard to come back and play, you get the bug,” he said. “I’ll have to give him the call and see what his thoughts are.”
Thomas — who was one year into a two-year coaching deal at the Magpies — said he had yet to decide where he would play football in 2013.
“We finished the season a couple of weeks ago and I’ve got plenty of other things to worry about — my wife is due in three weeks,” he said. “ I’m putting that ahead of footy and there’s plenty of time to make my decision.”