MATT HANDS TO PASS ON BATON
By Les Muir
JUNEE captain-coach Matt Hands has decided to stand down from the position at the end of the season.
After three years and a close call with Gundagai in the grand final in 2015, Hands says the time is right for him to pass on the coaching baton.
“This will be finish for me with coaching,” Hands said on Thursday.
“I’ve had enough of coaching at the moment.”
The grandson of Junee’s football patriarch Leo McCarthy, Hands’ decision will not mean he is lost to his hometown club
“I’ll be staying on (as a player),” he said.
“I just won’t be coaching.”
For Hands, coaching has been only part of his heavy burden at Junee in 2017.
With a shortage of volunteers, Hands came forward to take on the role of club treasurer, sharing football duties on and off the field.
Significantly, Hands will be missing as Junee strives to stay alive as a faint finals prospect.
The Diesels playmaker tore a hamstring when Junee lost 40-26 to Tumut last Sunday and will be sidelined for three weeks at least.
“I did it just before halftime,” he said.
“I’ll be out for a couple of weeks. I want to look after it (hamstring).”
With Junee battling to stay in the queue for a possible chance of playing in the Group Nine finals, Hands injury has come at a critical time.
Currently seventh on the ladder, Junee will need to win virtually their remaining six games to have a genuine hope of finishing in the top five.
Although heading into a duel with last-placed Cootamundra at Les Boyd Oval on Saturday, Hands is not treating the game as a safe two points.
“No we won’t be taking them lightly,” he said.
“Look what they did to Kangaroos a few weeks ago.”
The Bulldogs edged Kangaroos 28-26 on June 4 but have since been crushed by Southcity (50-6) and Gundagai (76-12).
Ironically, Hands says Junee and Cootamundra are clubs in a similar football predicament.
“They’re much the same as us,” he said.
“Our depth has been stretched like there’s has been this year.
“It’s a long year and we’ve had a lot of injuries, much the same as they have.”
Hands admits employment opportunities can impact on a club.
“When guys are casual workers they can’t afford to be injured,” he said.
“Earning a living is more important than football.”