OUTGOING Ovens and Murray coach Matt Pendergast believes the league should appoint a non-playing leader next season.
Pendergast officially stepped down from the post after three years yesterday and admitted there was no easy solution to turning the competition’s waning inter-league fortunes around.
“I have probably exhausted all avenues,” Pendergast said.
“Hopefully I have left the job in reasonably goods hands by drumming up a bit of support over the past three years, but each year it comes down to one day and some people support it and others don’t.
“We have tried the playing coach and it’s probably time for a non-playing coach to see if we can improve.
“I’m lost at which way to go to be honest.”
Pendergast, 30, took over from Robbie Jackson in 2011 and narrowly missed a place in the state’s top two when the Ovens and Murray lost to Mornington Peninsula Nepean by two points at Frankston.
It defeated the Hampden league at Visy Park the following year before going down to Peninsula this year.
“It’s been a bit of a mixed bag, but I have enjoyed it,” Pendergast said.
“I love inter-league footy and always will.
“Probably the highlight of the past few years has been seeing the young blokes get a chance and doing well.”
The All-Australian representative said he would make himself available for selection if fit when the league took on the Hampden league in next year’s 5 versus 6 play-off match.
League general manager Aaron McGlynn said the competition would explore all options in finding a replacement for Pendergast.
“I can’t speak highly enough of ‘Penda’,” McGlynn said.
“Not only is he an absolute professional on field, his dedication and passion for the league is unrivalled.
“He epitomises what the Ovens and Murray is all about.
“We certainly have big shoes to fill when it comes to finding a replacement for Matt.”