Deakin University coach steps down after 'difference of opinion'

Parting ways: Trent Anderson has left the Deakin University Sharks.
Parting ways: Trent Anderson has left the Deakin University Sharks.

TRENT Anderson says a difference of opinion about his coaching methods was behind his decision to step down as Deakin University coach.

Anderson and the Warrnambool and District league club officially parted ways midweek, almost three weeks after he believes concerns about his style surfaced.

He will not play again this season, but that is due to ongoing injury problems. Assistant coach Matt Lenehan has taken over.

Anderson, who always planned to resign at the end of 2014, was last at the helm during the Sharks’ round 12 loss to Timboon Demons on June 21.

He said he met with club officials and claims the message from the top brass was to “tone it down for the last part of the year”.

But he was reluctant to change his methods, insistent on getting the most out of the side and chasing elusive wins in the back end of the season.

“I pretty much said ‘I won’t tone it down. If I’m coaching I still want to get as many wins as I can on the board’,” he said.

“They said they would rather have it nice and easy for the players so they stick around next year.

“I said ‘if you want me to change the way I coach, it’s probably best I stand down and allow someone else to take on the role’.”

Further talks led to Lenehan coaching against East Warrnambool in round 13 on June 28 in a stand-in capacity before the formal decision this week.

Anderson said chairman of selectors Ray Anderson and forward line coach Noel Anderson  — both uncles — had also resigned from their roles.

Trent Anderson said he appreciated the opportunity to coach the Sharks. He wants to coach again in the future, but at a club with a more stable playing list.

“We’ve definitely left on good terms. I can understand our coaching methods weren’t for them, it was a bit too hard or too tough,” he said.

“I don’t walk out angry. I was told before I went to the club they won’t take the heavy-handed approach.

“I went in expecting a lot of players wouldn’t take to it. I walk out disappointed I wasn’t able to get more wins on the board but there’s definitely no bad blood.

“I understand it’s not for everyone, that hard-line stuff. You need 22 guys who are desperate to make finals.”

Deakin University pres-ident Luke Jackson was surprised Anderson cited a lack of faith in his coaching methods as his reason for stepping down.

Jackson believed the version of events was off the mark. He said club officials had sat down with Anderson to discuss his plans for 2015, soon learning he had no intention to coach again in 2015.

Upon learning that, they asked Anderson to share responsibilities with Lenehan to develop his coaching skills — a request which had been lost in translation.

“Footy clubs are a business and when you lose key personnel you can’t sit on your hands,” Jackson said.

“At that stage we thought it’d be nice to give Lena the opportunity to work with Trent a bit more on game day ... we wanted Trent to see out the year.

“Basically as things have gone on we said we wanted to give Lena the opportunity to see if he wants to coach year by having a taste first.

“We want to see if he’s the man, if he’s going to be suitable. Lena has had no real game-day involvement as such.”

Jackson said there was “no malice” between the club and Anderson, who was welcome to play out the season. Their most recent meeting was on Tuesday.

“That’s when he said ‘I don’t think we’re quite on the same wavelength with what we want to achieve, in the best interests of everybody I’ll stand aside’,” Jackson said.


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