BRENDAN Way will step back into the coaching ranks next year as co-coach of Culcairn alongside Adam Eady.
The pair will replace Chad Hamblin, who has coached the Lions for the past two seasons.
Way, who co-coached Wodonga Raiders with Paul Twycross in 2007-08, has spent this year playing for the Culcairn reserves and coaching the Lions’ fourths alongside Garry Sheather.
He said an exciting crop of youngsters coming through the club’s junior ranks helped entice him back into senior coaching.
“Until recently I probably only saw myself coaching at junior level,” Way said.
“But I enjoyed coaching the kids this year and being able to see first hand how many promising kids the club has got.
“The family moved to Culcairn a couple of years ago and we love the lifestyle and have never been happier.”
Way’s father, Stephen, coached the Lions in 1978-79 when Barry Godde was president — 35 years later, Way will follow in his father’s footsteps with Barry’s son Andrew now in the top job.
Way, who joined the Raiders in 1996 and played 205 senior matches, also coached Chiltern in 2005-06.
He led the Swans to the decider in his second year, losing by nine points to Mitta United.
Way said Culcairn could quickly return as a Hume league force, despite the club missing the finals for the second straight year.
“Alongside the local kids I think we can come up with a handy enough team with just recruiting the right half-a-dozen players,” he said.
“We will certainly aim to be a lot more competitive and try to create that Osborne and Mitta culture that most clubs are striving for.
“Initially I will coach with Adam for two years and reassess where we are at after that.
“I think we will surprise quite a few people next season.”
Way said Hamblin was likely to return to Wagga next season alongside his brother Kirk.
Eady returned to his junior club this season for the first time since 2002 after stints at Lavington and Noosa.
The Lions captain has enjoyed a stellar season and looks likely to fight out the club’s best and fairest with Will Haines.