SEVEN COACHES LOCKED IN FOR 2018
By Les Muir
The coaching landscape in Group Nine for 2018 is rapidly becoming crystal clear.
With one round before the finals, seven of the 11 clubs have locked in their coach for next year – and others are close to finalising their plans.
Officially, Albury (Adrian Purtell), Kangaroos (Ben Jeffery), Tumbarumba (Robbie Byatt), Southcity (Kyle McCarthy), Glen Buttriss (Cootamundra) and Young (James Woolford) are the clubs to have their coach in place.
Jeffery, Purtell, Woolford, Byatt, McCarthy and Buttriss are signed for 2018, butJames Smart is assured of retaining the coaching position at Gundagai for a third straight season.
Smart‘s popularity with the playing group at Gundagai is not as issue, and it is a formality for the playmaker to keep the role.
After months of trying to keep their future coaching plans a secret, Southcity and Cootamundra finally dropped the charade, announcing McCarthy and Buttriss to take over from Nick Skinner and Warren Lloyd respectively in 2018.
Like Skinner at Southcity, Matt Hands (Junee) and Grant Boyd (Temora) have decided to move aside,leaving the Diesels and Dragons to pursue someone new.
At Junee, it seems Trent Schuback is not an option, but a relatively big-name ex-Junee identity is apparently the favoured candidate.
Temora are believed to have their eye on a high-profile replacement for Boyd, who may be tempted to return to Cootamundra for a swansong under Buttriss.
Uncertainty, is also a factor at Tumut (Jarrad Teka) and Brothers (Terry Westblade).
Citing travel from Canberra as an obstacle, Teka is weighing up his options, while Westblade is unsure whether he will be in Wagga next year.
With Buttriss in the job, Warren Lloyd is out in the cold.
Club 2017 2018
Albury Josh Cale Adrian Purtell
Brothers Terry Westblade Uncertain
Cootamundra Warren Lloyd Glen Buttriss
Gundagai James Smart James Smart
Junee Matt Hands Vacant
Kangaroos Ben Jeffery Ben Jeffery
Southcity Nick Skinner Kyle McCarthy
Temora Grant Boyd Vacant
Tumbarumba Robbie Byatt Robbie Byatt
Tumut Jarrad Teka Uncertain
Young James Woolford James Woolford