A CHANCE to teach aspiring footballers on a short-term deal lured Adam Dowie out of coaching retirement.
The six-time Hampden league premiership mentor put Warrnambool-based North Ballarat Rebels’ hopefuls through their paces for the first time this week.
Dowie will coach the under 18 crop throughout the summer in a bid to hand them to Rebels mentor Gerard FitzGerald in tip-top condition for the 2017 TAC Cup season.
Dowie, who bowed out of senior coaching in September after leading Koroit to a third straight flag, replaces new Saints leader Chris McLaren in the role.
“Once a coach, always a coach,” he said.
“When I told (my wife Jane) she was getting off a plane in the Gold Coast and going to Byron Bay for five days so she said ‘righto’ and when she got back was like ‘right, what’s going on?’
“It was hard to say no. The fact is it’s reasonably short-term – we finish in March – so that helped (me make a decision).
“It is as pure coaching you’re going to get – the kids are sent letters, all of them turn up and they’re enthusiastic and keen to learn.
“There are some parts of coaching you don’t enjoy but with this the whole lot’s positive and enjoyable.”
Dowie ran his first training session on Monday and a second on Wednesday.
The former Gippsland Power coach – he spent a season in the TAC Cup system in 2011 – was impressed with the players’ application and willingness to learn.
“There are kids from the three secondary schools there, so you get a chance to know kids from other clubs,” he said. “I am taking the under 18s and Ben Van de Camp and Noel Mugavin the under 16s.”
North Ballarat Rebels, who also have summer bases in the Hampden, South West and Wimmera regions, will put the Warrnambool-based contenders through a testing session at the new Emmanuel Centre on Monday.
The players will do 20-metre sprints and the beep test as part of their pre-season training.