ODGERS STEPS DOWN AT REDLAND

Redlands will scour the nation for a new coach after former St Kilda and Victorian defender Gary Odgers stepped down from the post last weekend for personal reasons.

Odgers took on the toughest job in AFLQ State League football when ex-West Coast star David Hart quit the post just a month into his tenure in 2006.

The Bombers had been decimated by a huge player exodus that summer, and Odgers walked into Victoria Point with basically a raw, teenage combination to work with that had been on the receiving end of several 30-goal beltings.

While they won a solitary game in each of his two seasons at the club, the young side improved considerably in 2007, twice testing eventual grand finalists Southport and overrunning in-form Broadbeach in the final match of the Velocity Sports Cup season.

Redland club development manager Craig Millar said Odgers had laid the groundwork for the club to enter a bright new era in coming seasons.

Gary has built a promising young player list and his work will probably be best recognized in a couple of years time when all these young kids mature and team is winning consistently," Millar said.

When you consider the situation that he came into, Gary has done a sensational job.

"We are obviously disappointed to see him go, but we also understand his personal reasons and wish him all the best for the future."

Millar said the club would advertise the position, and promised the new coach a stable list of enthusiastic youngsters complemented by several wise heads.

In a significant boost for the Bombers, Millar confirmed that recently crowned best and fairest winner Phil Carse had signed with the club for next year.

At 22 and with VFL experience behind him, Carse is a key part of the future, as is leading goalkicker Michael Thompson.

The former Tasmanian grand final best afield winner is a potential State player like Carse, and their continued presence is a huge boost for the emerging youth around them.

Teenager Blake Passfield, who finished just behind Carse in the Bombers' voting, has also confirmed for next season and appeals as a player of great talent.

"The results of the last three years have not been great, but we've weathered the storm and we've very excited about what lays ahead," Millar said.


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