With the Football Wagga Wagga (FWW) season kick-off only two months away, the Tumut Eagles have finally named a successor to outgoing coach, Dylan Piper-Bye, with Lachlan Anderson stepping into the role of head coach.
The 21-year-old will be playing his seventh year of seniors with the Eagles, but it will be his first-year coaching at the top grade, with the Eagles new main man explaining he felt compelled to give back to the club.
“I’ve been here so long that I feel guilty I haven’t done enough for the club,” Anderson said.
“(Matthew) Lopez really pushed that onto people, not taking the club for granted, so I thought this was my turn to give back to the Eagles.”
After making his senior debut in 2015, Anderson has been a big part of the club’s success in recent years, playing in the 2017 and 2020 Pascoe Plate triumphs.
“I think I’ve been there long enough now to coach; I know everyone there, and as far I know I am well respected and they know I love the club,” Anderson said.
“I’ve played first grade and been around, so I’m not too worried but I will take any advice I can get as there is so much experience in the club.”
The Eagles are a huge part of Anderson’s life, and the club will hope his passion for the Yellow and Black colours rub off on the rest of the playing group.
“The Eagles are the greatest thing ever, some of my best memories come from the Eagles and some of my best friends come from the Eagles,” Anderson said.
“It has taken up eight or nine months of my life since I was five, it’s a massive part of my life.”
Anderson didn’t seek out the role of coach, but was approached and after considering the season ahead, he made the decision to take on the job.
“It was (Michael) Parker and (Ethan) Kass that pushed me a little bit. I was unsure at the start, but the longer I thought about it, the more I thought I would give it a go,” Anderson said.
The job ahead for Anderson and the senior Eagles players is massive, with a large chunk of last year’s first and second grade side’s moving on, and a lot of youth set to replace them.
“In terms of this season, I want to make us competitive and keep it enjoyable,” Anderson said.
“We have had seasons in the past where we struggled and it is a knock-on effect and we had less people at training and the results didn’t get better and I want to avoid that this year.”
Anderson wasn’t oblivious to the task at hand, and is just asking those players to do their best when given the opportunity.
“We need to do the best with what we have,” Anderson said.
“In first grade, we don’t have a lot of depth, as far as first grader (class) players, we have 9 or 10 and this season will depend on how our young players step up.
“Jay Casey, Ethan Parker and Jordy Sanbrook are all juniors ready to make that next step. I played with all of them in ressies last year, I know what they are about and I think it is time for them to push up.”
The Eagles will officially commence preseason training tonight and Anderson hopes to see a good turnout, with the club yet to decide whether they will contest two or three grades in 2021.
“We start on Tuesday and Thursday this week at The Bull Paddock,” Anderson said.
“A majority will be fitness to start off with, but we will try and do fitness and ball skills at the same time. It just helps players ease into it a bit better and keeps people a bit interested.”
With higher than usual player turnover, Anderson would like to see some new faces join the club.
“We love new people. The most important people at our club are new people, they bring new energy and new thoughts to the club,” Anderson said.
“In recent years, (Ethan) Kass and (Matthew) Lopez were new and they have brought a lot, so we are always welcoming new players and volunteers.”