THE lure of guiding the next generation of Port Fairy stars through the ranks is the driving force behind Kalon Wilkie’s longevity at the crease.
The Pirates co-coach will line up for his 200th game in navy and white this weekend, stamping his credentials as one of the club’s all-time greats.
Wilkie, a three-time Port Fairy club champion, returned to the seaside club from a five-year stint in Darwin last season and made an immediate impact.
He teamed with opening batsman Aaron Williams at the helm to guide the Pirates to their first A grade trophy in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s Twenty20 cup.
My coaching and captaincy style is based on having 11 captains out on the park.Kalon Wilkie
Wilkie told The Standard he was proud to join a host of greats on the honour board at Avery’s Paddock and was determined to notch a victory against East Warrnambool on Saturday.
“I started at the club when I was 13 or 14 with guys like Porridge (Trevor Kemp) and Kevin Leske. I missed a few years with work and being up in Darwin and it’s easy to forget how long you’ve been at a club,” he said.
“I’ve coached prior to this at the club but went to play in England for a couple of years, and came back to coach for another three. It’s something I really enjoy and you’re able to put something back into the club. “My coaching and captaincy style is based on having 11 captains out on the park. That way the players get ownership of the game and it puts the onus on them to bounce ideas around.”
Among the four premierships Wilkie has played in, he rated Port Fairy’s reverse outright victory over Nirranda which enabled the Pirates to win the division two grand final as his most memorable.
He said coaching was more demanding now than a decade ago but his passion for the top job was still well intact. “It’s time consuming with two young kids but it is all working well,” he said.