Victoria’s Australian Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coach of the Year recipients have been announced, following the 2018 AFL Victoria Community Football Awards gala dinner on Friday night.
Five of the state’s most outstanding coaches were recognised in one of five categories including NAB Auskick, Junior, Youth, Female and Senior.
See below a brief summary of the 2018 Coach of the Year winners
2018 RAY ALLSOPP NAB AFL AUSKICK COACH OF THE YEAR WINNER: MARK MCGANN (ECHUCA MOAMA ROCKETS)
Mark ‘Cheezel’ McGann is the proud AAA Auskick coach at the Echuca Rockets.
McGann’s commitment to helping children achieve their goal of playing football is quite remarkable, with many at the club describing him as the ‘glue’ that keeps them together.
Cheezel is a great communicator and despite some of the challenges he is presented with, he finds a way to create a perfect balance between learning, hardwork and having fun while creating an inclusive environment for all.
The Rockets are prominent on social media thanks to Cheezel and his efforts to recognise the group’s achievements go a long way in the team’s success.
He finds a way to ensure every player experiences success of some sort throughout the season- no matter how big or small.
He is also the key driver of an initiative called the One and All Inclusion Day at the club, a celebration of the club’s efforts to provide a platform for anyone and everyone to participate.
2018 DAVID PARKIN JUNIOR COACH OF THE YEAR WINNER: TODD O’SULLIVAN- COLLEGE MAGPIES JFC (HAMILTON KANGAROOS JFL)
As a father of five, Todd O’Sullivan was well prepared to deal with a collection of young kids striving to have fun and learn the game of football.
He emphasises positive communication, constantly interacting with parents, coaches and players to ensure there is an understanding of what he does and why.
He focuses on helping the kids understand football terminology and how best to utilise their skills, putting them in positions to succeed on the field.
As a former footballer, Todd is able to communicate common football knowledge to young kids in a way they can understand, and his focus on building a great TEAM rather than individual players helped his squad earn a spot in the grand final this season.
He is enormously respected amongst the community and his positive and encouraging style has rubbed off on others around the club. Kids love playing for him and that is a testament to his work ethic as a coach.
2018 STAN ALVES YOUTH COACH OF THE YEAR WINNER: BRENTEN HOGAN- WOORINEN FNC (CMFNL)
Brenten Hogan is no stranger to football.
Having been a player himself for many years, Brenten’s experience in the game both on and off the field saw earn him the 2018 Youth Coach of the Year award for the Central Murray FNL.
Coaching both girls and boys at different stages of development, Brenten’s approach to coaching is to build his players’ confidence and see development, rather than winning.
He is constantly giving individual feedback, advice and support, whether it is in person, through email or over the phone.
Brenten has been an Academy coach for U14s the last three years as well as being appointed the Youth U16 girls V/Line cup coach, highlighting his ability to communicate with not only boys or girls but teach other coaches as well.
Brenten has experience at all levels of football and his approachable nature has led to numerous awards and a respected reputation amongst coaches and families in Woorinen.
2018 PETA SEARLE FEMALE COACH OF THE YEAR WINNER: LAURA HICKEY- TIMBOON DEMONS FNC (DEAKIN UNI FFL)
In just her first year as coach, Laura has become a mentor and leader amongst a young group of girls in the Timboon region.
Having been forced out of sports with a health issue at an early age, Laura found her passion in coaching and has been able to build and develop a local girls team from scratch this season.
With so many girls new to the game, Laura emphasised the learning of basic skills and understanding of the game. While securing just one win this season, the team morale never dropped and the attendances at training remained high which is a testament to the culture she has created.
Laura’s approach as a coach is an encouraging one, ensuring each player is filled with the confidence to go out and compete.
Laura is held in high regard in the community and around the club. Her strong commitment to having fun and learning over winning has created a good environment and one that will continue to grow as she progresses as a coach.
2018 GERARD FITZGERALD SENIOR COACH OF THE YEAR WINNER: CRAIG KELLOW- NATHALIA FNC (MURRAY FOOTBALL LEAGUE)
Craig Kellow can be described as a ‘players coach’ and an all-round club man with a commitment to bettering not only his players but everyone involved with Nathalia FNC.
While being an excellent coach in terms of tactics and game style (evident by three straight premierships) Craig also uses GPS data, video footage and stats to provide feedback to both the team and individuals.
While he is an expert on the field, Craig’s best work is done off the field in his role leading and developing others. In addition to making himself available for his players to contact him at any time, Craig also manages to make time to help those around the club, such as umpiring junior games, inviting U17s to train with the senior group, participating in joint training with the women’s team and helping to develop other coaches.
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