HFNL coach calls in support panel

NEW Hampden interleague coach Chris McLaren is assembling a coaching panel from all corners of the competition in a bid to re-energise the representative program.
Nanjing Night Net

For the first time in a decade, a current club coach will have a senior off-field role in Hampden’s country championships campaign as McLaren prepares to cast the net wide for playing talent.

Hampden Kangaroos playing coach Jarrod Holt, retired Camperdown great Aaron Sinnott and former South Warrnambool coach Matt Monk join McLaren as selectors.

Holt and Sinnott will be bench coaches alongside McLaren, while Monk will be in charge of ensuring a fun experience while also being a runner.

The three are all new to their roles and mark a new era for the Bottle Greens, who had a stable coaching group under former coach Nick O’Sullivan.

Holt is the first current club coach to have a key role since Adam Dowie (then at Terang Mortlake) and Wayne Walsh (Camperdown) were assistants to Leigh McCluskey in 2005.

McLaren said Holt’s inclusion on the coaching panel was pivotal. He wants to embrace the league’s youngest clubs, Portland and the Kangaroos, and believes Holt knows the two clubs’ lists better than anyone. Holt lives in Portland and is a former coach of the Tigers but is entering his second year in charge of the Kangaroos.

“I really wanted Holty to play a role. We don’t know a lot about players from those two clubs and I would have still relied on him for help,” he said.

“The plan was to have a completely new group of coaches. You need to do that when you change your coach and give it a different feel.

“I definitely wanted one from the Portland/Hamilton area. I’ve got one from South Warrnambool and one from Camperdown/Terang/Cobden area.”

McLaren is looking for a mix of some high-quality recruits and emerging talent to underpin Hampden’s interleague match against Murray league at Reid Oval on May 23.

He hopes through the new coaching panel to be able to inject some young, quick players into the training squad and give emerging players an opportunity to step up.

That philosophy sits well with Aaron Sinnott, who retired last season after 263 senior games with Camperdown.

Sinnott, a former Hampden interleague player for several years, said he was looking forward to being involved.

“I was going to step back for the year but it’s a good opportunity,” he said.

“I want to put something back. That’s what you need to do, put something back into your league and club. I enjoy developing the younger kids and being involved. I enjoy being around the team environment.”

Sinnott assists Matt Harkin with the North Ballarat Rebels’ squad of Camperdown/Cobden players.

Monk, who stepped down from South Warrnambool’s top job at the end of last season because of work commitments, said he was excited about joining the Bottle Greens.

Like Sinnott, Holt and McLaren, Monk is a former league representative player.

“I thought it would be a good way to stay in touch without a major commitment,” he said.

“I love the Hampden league and know a lot of the clubs and people. My main priority is to make sure everyone has a bit of fun. I’ve always played footy for enjoyment and to bring out the fun. I’m big on team harmony and having a good time.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.