WESTERNS have jumped on the front foot with their preparations for the 2021 South West District Football Netball League season, signing their A grade netball and senior football coaches late last week.
32-year-old Marcus England will remain on as Westerns senior football coach for the 2021 season.
The 2020 season was scheduled to be England’s fourth as senior coach, having first taken over the role in 2017, however the season was cancelled due to the Victorian Government’s coronavirus restrictions on community sport on May 28.
The Roos have been one of the teams to watch in all three of England’s years as senior coach, making three consecutive preliminary finals but falling short of the grand final each time.
Westerns are the A grade reigning premiers after going all the way in 2019 and the Roos are sticking with the philosophy of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t’ fix it’ heading into 2021, retaining Toni Rowe and Vicki Clayton as co-coaches of the club’s leading team.
Rowe joined Westerns (South West District) from Portland (Hampden) in 2017 as a defender and it’s been a rewarding switch so far.
In 2017, Rowe’s Roos made the grand final but fell short by two goals in overtime, and in 2018 the Roos reached the preliminary final but were ousted.
Westerns then elevated Rowe to co-coach in 2019 and won the premiership.
Rowe’s partner-in-crime, Clayton, has been equally as influential from the sidelines during this time as a perennial premiership contender – working as a co-coach with Brooke Polaski during the 2017 run and co-coaching the 2019 premiership.
Westerns president Adam Hawke said the club was rapt to maintain all three senior leaders of the club.
“Obviously it’s been a really tricky period of time for all clubs but we decided recently it was time to start getting things into gear for next year,” Hawke said.
“We followed our process by advertising for all positions and then after meeting with our coaches, decided that we were eager to continue on with all three.
“Marcus (England) has done a great job with our footballers during his time as senior coach and the cancellation of this year’s season really caught us off guard, because we were looking forward to seeing how he and the group were going to go.
“The same can be said for our netball coaches, and the way they coached the team in 2019 shows that clearly they’re the right picks for the job.
“The biggest talking point during our interviewing was still very much the unknown.
“Coaches want to know when they can train, when they can get started, all of that type of information, and it’s difficult for anyone to provide it at the moment.
“Hopefully we can get stuck into the preseason period soon and get moving towards an exciting 2021.”