GERARD FitzGerald will coach North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup next season.
The Hampden league export’s appointment comes after a controversial end to a nine-season tenure at the helm of North Ballarat Roosters in the VFL this year.
This is the second time FitzGerald has coached the Rebels.
He was in charge of the AFL under-18 pathway team in 2005-06. Ironically, he will continue to work at the same facility as the Roosters.
But the Rebels are independent of North Ballarat Football Club operations - administered as an arm of AFL Victoria under the guidance regional talent manager Phil Partington.
FitzGerald’s return to the Rebels’ top job comes after he was knocked back by the North Ballarat Football Club board for the Roosters’ head coaching role for a second time.
The three-time VFL premiership coach was told mid-season his contract would not be extended beyond this year.
He then re-applied when applications were opened and was shortlisted – ultimately being offered a one-year contract before negotiations broke down. FitzGerald fills the Rebels vacancy left by David Loader, who has joined AFL club North Melbourne as a development coach.