The Young Lions will be a force to be reckoned with in the Football Wagga Wagga Senior men’s competition after securing local football guru Mark Mellish as Coach for the 2018 season and beyond.
Mellish thought he had closed the door on his Young coaching career when he left the club at the end of the 2015 season.
Having watched his young team gradually grow up for some time, it was time to step away and enjoy watching his young daughter grow up instead.
But when Lions president Paul Cameron challenged him to once again guide the club’s youthful players into the future, Mellish could not resist.
“Paul contacted me and said the guys just needed a bit more direction and structure,” he said.
“With all due respect to the previous guys who did a good job in their own right, Paul and I have worked well together in the past so I took the opportunity when he asked me to come back.”
Mellish, who coached Young from 2010 until 2015, said he would embrace the challenge of coaching a squad that was younger than ever.
“When I left the average age was about 25, and this time when you look at the 20 or so players I’ve spoken to so far, the average age is probably pushing right back into the teens,” he said.
Mellish said he will be looking to guide the team into finals contention but was not looking for any quick fixes.
“Coaching the Lions will be about looking at the bigger picture,” he said.
“That will basically involve setting a system that we will be able to use over time.
“We have an exciting young list so it's about getting them into a structure that we can go a long way into the competition with, but my primary goal will be to get them playing well as a team and perhaps playing finals in 2019.”
Mellish said the Lions have a few older more experienced players whose on-field leadership will be crucial to his plans.
“We will be competing against players who play in the State League, so the standard is high, therefore our on-field leaders like Duncan Cameron who was player of the year last year in the competition, his leadership will be valuable.
“The squad is full of talented players, the core group of players are all individually very highly skilled so it will be a matter of harnessing that along with developing their footballing brains.
“So we will go out on the field with a formation in mind but we will be able to adapt to how the opposition is playing and exploit their weaknesses with our strengths.”
The club will boast a senior team but Mellish is hopeful of building a bigger roster of players for the 2018 season.
“We’d love to be able to field two Men’s sides next season,” he said.