By Oliver Lees
Woodend-Hesket has announced Josh Pound will lead the club as a playing coach next season in the Riddell District Football League.
Pound, who joined the club as a player at the start of this year, said he was ready for the added responsibility.
“I probably didn’t think it would come this quickly, but I’ve always had it on my radar to become a coach,” Pound said.
“It’s a really good opportunity, I’d be silly not to take it. One of my closest friends is the captain of the club [Alistair Rae], and I have a long standing relationship with Ben Tankard too.
The club was quick to move on finding a replacement for two-year coach Ben Tankard, who stood down from the role last week.
Tankard coached the side through the 2020 and 2021 seasons, both of which were heavily interrupted due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Speaking to Star Weekly last week, Tankard said the challenging period had taken a toll on his motivation to coach.
He said he understood those challenges were ongoing, but remained optimistic that the team would stay strong for next season.
It’s a really difficult time for footy players, with everything being so unpredictable,” he said.
“I’ve spoken with the core group [of players] and I think there is some really strong interest in having people coming back next year.
“The club in itself and the people involved are awesome, they really welcome new people with open arms. I just think it’s a really well run footy club, I’ve got confidence in the way they run things I feel as though they’re not far from success.”
Last season Pound played in seven of the club’s 10 matches and averaged a goal in a game.
The Hawks finished the season in sixth place with four wins and six losses.
Pound has previously held coaching positions in semi-professional junior capacities and as the head coach of the Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School first team.
He has also worked at the Western Bulldogs within their commercial partnerships division.
“I was lucky enough to be there at a time when they were at their worst, losing CEOs and captains, and was able to be a part of the club when they had the ultimate success in 2016,” he said.
Pound said the club will look to resume training when travel restrictions are eased by regional Victorian and metropolitan Melbourne.
Incoming senior club president James Chettle said the club was excited to welcome Pound on board for 2022.
“He brings really strong values and has exceptional leadership qualities which made our decision to appoint Josh easy,” he said.
“His energy towards seeing the club progress to finals is amazing and the club looks forward to a big preseason and hopefully a successful 2022.”