JASON Akermanis won’t coach North Albury today.
The Brownlow medallist is away and has handed the reins to assistant Craig Mannagh and injured captain Daniel Leslie for the clash with Albury at Albury Sportsground.
Leslie, who remains sidelined because of a grade-two medial strain in his knee, said it wouldn’t be a sign of things to come.
“Not at all,” Leslie said.
“I enjoy playing, but full-time coaching looks like too much work, if you ask me.”
In a blow, Leslie could not guarantee he’d return to the field this season.
The Hoppers’ star man hasn’t played for a month after injuring himself against Myrtleford in round 9.
“It’s taking forever to get right,” Leslie said.
“The aim is to play the last four games, but, if not, the last two.
“But if it gets that close to the end of the season, there isn’t much point coming back at all in the risk of doing it again.
“I’ve had a disappointing year with injury, but that’s footy.”
Leslie said the Hoppers were under no illusions about the test they faced against the undefeated Tigers.
“They’re the best side in the competition and probably the best the Ovens and Murray has seen for a long time,” Leslie said.
“It will be a challenge, particularly with their bigger bodies in the conditions.”
The former Victoria Country star said North Albury had benefited from last week’s general bye.
The Hoppers won a thriller against Wodonga in a slog the week before.
“The young guys start tiring at this time of the year, so we really needed it,” Leslie said.
“The win was good for the group’s confidence.”