Preview. Smithton Football Club has announced Matt Elliott as the senior assistant playing coach, with Aaron Tuxworth to continue his role of playing coach in the 2016 season.
The move comes as the club shifts its branding from the Smithton Saints to Circular Head Giants.
“It’s a bold move [but] hopefully it will create a change in the culture of the club,” Tuxworth said.
With most of the 2015 side re-signing for another season, the coaches are also expecting to announce a few new players in the coming weeks – likely underaged boys stepping up in the ranks.
“The previous group were there for eight or nine years,” Tuxworth said. “This group coming through now have the opportunity to do that themselves, fingers crossed we can set a high standard.”
To the new role, Elliott brings his experience from coaching Forest-Stanley’s seniors to a grand-final win this year in what was his first year of coaching. He hopes to continue that success with the Giants in 2016.
“It was challenging,” he says of juggling the role of coach and player. “There’s obviously more responsibility around the club and behind the scenes . . . Being a player you don’t always understand that.
“I’ve learned to understand the different personalities [in a club] and how to sit them down and have hard conversations if there are issues . . . But once you can set up a structure, you manage to juggle both roles.”
Elliott looks to play on the forward line for the young team, whilst Tuxworth will play in the middle.
“Matt complements a different area of the field than what I do so fingers crossed we can bounce ideas off each other and really get the young group going,” Tuxworth said.
“And I think having Matt’s experience coaching in the country level, that will be good rapport with the young boys and we will definitely benefit.”
The coaches are starting the hard work early with pre-season set to begin in November.
“The guys along the coast are all mature,” Elliott said, “they’re 24-30, they’ve had pre-season after pre-season, they’re all in such good nick, if you don’t do it (pre-season) you’re behind from the start.
“Especially with young kids, you have to get their body ready, it’s a big step up playing against grown men from playing against kids.”
Tuxworth reiterated his assistant coach’s words.
“We should be a lot more competitive than last year with a good group of kids coming through . . . Matt and I are really looking forward to building on last year.”