On July 21st this year, Coburg President Bill Balakis announced that the club would be ending its 14 year association with the Richmond Football Club and fielding a stand-alone VFL side from 2014.
The alignment will continue for 2013, though it was recently reported that current Senior Coach Adam Potter will not coach the side with Richmond appointing and paying for a coach in the final year of the agreement.
Potter has been offered the role as Development League Coach and is yet to publicly declare his intentions for 2013. Offering Potter the job as ‘Reserves Coach’ is a perplexing decision and only justifiable if he to return to the role as Senior Coach in 2014.
2013 will be a difficult year for the Coburg Football Club and these are unique circumstances surrounding Potter’s non-appointment for next season but Coburg must make a stand and either appoint Potter for 2014 or cease ties with him at the end of this season.
Who coaches Coburg in its first seasons as a first stand-alone club could make or break it. The Lions need an experienced coach who can develop young players, recruit leaders and bring with him a demanding game plan designed to win games.
Current West Adelaide Coach Andy Collins is their man and Coburg need to do everything to try and convince him to return across the border. Collins is contracted to West Adelaide until the end of 2013 where by that time he will have spent seven years at the helm of the SANFL club.
Andy Collins coached Coburg between 2006 and 2008, guiding the club to the 2007 Grand Final which it lost to a powerhouse Geelong outfit by 74-points. Under Collins Coburg never missed playing finals, since his departure they haven’t played in a single final!
Andy Collins has a history of bringing with him players from his last coaching job to a new appointment.
Coburg was hit hard with departures when Collins took on the West Adelaide job. No current Coburg player is on the radar of AFL recruiters with their list the worst in the VFL.
Collins has at his disposal no less than six players; Fortunato Caruso, James Ezard, Ryan Willits, Michael Still, Natale Caruso and Sam Ezard, recruited from the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne. Former Coburg players James Lawton [Central Districts] and Nick Liddle [South Adelaide] are also playing in the SANFL.
Coburg’s first major decision as a stand-alone club could be its most important. The Lions need to be bold but shrewd otherwise struggle street awaits and they may not get another chance to get it right.
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