Welcome to the Coaches Corner - I’m Bret Lavars and I am the Senior Coach of the Mooroolbark Football Club for the 2019 season.
This will provide us with a platform for the club's coaches to communicate directly throughout the season.
As a player, I played 184 games for the Dingley Football Netball Club, across two leagues, the MPNFL and SFNL. My career included two premierships in 2008 and 2015 and a Best and Fairest award in 2009.
I have spent the last three years as Assistant Coach to Heath Black, of which two years were at Narre Warren Football Netball Club in the SEFNL and last season at Mooroolbark Football Club.
Unfortunately, the 2018 season did not live up to the hype that swept through the league at the start of last season. As a club we were struck down with a disastrous run of injuries to key players which hampered our year.
It’s fair to say it was a frustrating year for players, members, supporters, sponsors and coaches alike.
That said, as a coaching group we looked forward to the challenge that the year gave us. Those who have been around football clubs long enough will tell you that you will learn more about yourself and the group from a challenging year than that of a year which doesn’t pose many hiccups along the way.
I am excited to take the reins in 2019. I have surrounded myself with a group of fantastic people lead by Dale Watkins who will be my Assistant Coach. Dale coached the Under 19’s during the 2018 season as well as being an Assistant Coach for the Senior team. Dale will be invaluable to me and will benefit the group with his football knowledge.
The club is also fortunate to have two playing Assistant Coaches this season in Matthew Polkinghorne and Aaron Mullett.
Polks is a club legend and has been the benchmark for our club for numerous years. He is relishing the opportunity lead from the front throughout the pre-season.
Aaron comes to Mooroolbark direct from the AFL system after time at North Melbourne and Carlton and has had immediate impact on both the playing group and coaches alike. Aaron is a wealth of knowledge and is looking forward to the challenge of working with the coaching panel to change the culture of a young list at Mooroolbark.
As a group we are keen to build towards a strong future for the club. We have also managed to recruit some players with leadership qualities to help our young list on our journey.
Throughout the pre-season we have seen a few players leave our club for various reasons. Although we never wish to lose quality individuals, we wish all players the best for the upcoming season and the door will always be open if the wish to come home. I hope they will return to our great club in the years to come.
One positive that comes from players leaving is that opportunity presents itself to others. This is the case for the 2019 season, with a number of players vying for vacated positions.
As a coaching group, we have identified the need for change and with regards to our values and behaviours. A workshop has been held and new values and behaviours created by our playing group. They will hold themselves to account.
A massive focus pre-Christmas has been our foot skills. Last season we let ourselves down in this area and we have looked to rectify this weakness.
We are excited by the youth coming through and the energy they have brought to training. The Under 17s side of last season won a premiership and subsequently we have six players currently training with the Eastern Ranges.
The future is bright for our club and I’m excited to get back into training before the season proper is upon us.