OSBORNE premiership mentor Daniel McAlister will become the Cats’ longest serving coach since joining the Hume league in 1970 after re-signing for a fifth consecutive season.
McAlister, 35, who took over from Corey Munson at the end of 2010, has finished ninth, premiers and fourth in his first three seasons at the helm.
The perennial powerhouse is once again guaranteed a finals berth, despite slipping from first to fourth with a 11-6 record after dropping its past four matches against finals contenders.
“I’m pretty stoked and honoured to become Osborne’s longest-serving coach in the Hume league,” McAlister said.
“From my perspective it came down to how far we have progressed this season with such a young group.
“It’s fair to say we have exceeded most people’s expectations, including our own, to be on top of the ladder after round 14 before struggling with poor form over the past month.
“It’s an exciting and talented young list and I’m just rapt to be part of their development for another season.
“I love the club, the supporters and I have built a strong bond with Garry O’Connell, who is a living legend at the club and another big reason behind why I decided to go on.”
Osborne interviewed several other coaching candidates before opting to extend McAlister’s tenure for a fifth season.
“I was happy to step aside if the club could find a suitable replacement,” he said.
“The club went through due process and spoke to at least half a dozen applicants.
“Then they approached me about coaching again and it gained momentum from there.
“I got around a few of the players and got their feedback to see if it was the right thing to do by going again.
“The feedback was positive, which was a decisive factor for me to go on.”
McAlister said he planned to play on next season.
Cats president Jason Gooden said McAlister had done an outstanding job this season with the list at his disposal.
“A lot of people wrote us off at the start of the year but Daniel has been able to defy the critics and we will play finals again,” Gooden said.
“After the players we lost over the summer the club is going through a rebuilding phase.
“But to Daniel’s credit he been able to fast track the kids’ development and we are extremely happy how we are progressing.”