By Oliver Lees
Ben Tankard has stood down as senior coach at Woodend-Hesket in the Riddell District Football League.
The decision has brought to a close a heavily restricted two-year coaching term for Tankard, who took over the role before the 2020 season, which was ultimately cancelled.
Tankard said after agonising over the decision for several weeks, he felt it was time for him to take a break from the game.
“2020 was a huge disappointment for us, the club gave us a full budget, we recruited really well and had a super preseason,” he said.
“And again this year since we’ve stopped and I’ve found it really difficult to get the motivation. Honestly, I think the last two seasons have really cooked me.
“Coaching is something you’ve got to love to do. There’s a lot of time and preparation that goes into it, but game day is what it’s all about. To put in eight months of work and have no reward, it just doesn’t weigh up.
“I’ve coached for 19 or so seasons now without a time off. I’m looking forward to a break and enjoying the community footy as a spectator.”
Tankard joined the Hawks after a two-year stint at Macedon where his side was a constant fixture in finals.
The Hawks finished the shortened 2021 season in sixth place with four wins and six losses.
Those four wins came consecutively from round three to round seven, including their best result of the season – a five point win over Macedon.
Tankard said he was grateful for the opportunity to lead the club despite the challenging conditions.
“It’s a wonderful club, it’s a really good community in Woodend,” he said.
“I feel we’re definitely in a better place then when I arrived. I know there is likely some disappointment with me moving on but everyone has been really supportive and wished me well.
“I’m hopeful they can continue this trend and keep going on the up.
Hawks president Paul Podbury acknowledged Tankard’s positive contribution to the club.
“We’d like to thank Ben for what he has contributed to the role at the club over the passed few seasons which have been made difficult considering the pandemic,” he said.
“He has helped bring some quality people into the senior team that has helped set the club up in a positive way into the future.”
Woodend-Hesket has named Josh Pound to replace Tankard a playing coach.
The Hawks are holding their virtual best and fairest on Thursday, October 21 via their Facebook page.