Chris Schmidt looking forward to North Albury co-coaching role

Chris Schmidt in action for Adelaide during his 20-match AFL career.

Chris Schmidt in action for Adelaide during his 20-match AFL career.

BOOM North Albury signing Chris Schmidt is confident he can successfully co-coach the Hoppers while living in Sydney.

Schmidt will arrive on the Border on Friday most weeks during the home and away series to play a major role on match-day alongside Clinton Gilson.

“I have a great support network there in terms of the personnel around,” the former West Adelaide skipper said earlier this week.

“It’s a minor issue, probably not 100 per cent ideal, but at the same time manageable.”

North Albury landed the recruiting coup through a link with football operations manager Mark Hilton with the 29-year-old visiting the Ovens and Murray club earlier this month before signing.

His signing is a huge boost for the Hoppers who have averaged 40 players at pre-season training over the past week.

The club struggled to get half that many 12 months ago.

“Our numbers have been good,” Gilson said.

“Hopefully Chris’ signing gives us more momentum.

“He will be awesome for us as we have a young team and his experience from the AFL and SANFL is going to be invaluable.”

Schmidt, who played 20 AFL matches for Adelaide and Brisbane, announced his retirement from the SANFL in August with Bloods’ teammate Daniel Caire.

The midfielder captained the club to its first SANFL premiership since 1983 with a dominant display in the 2015 grand final against minor premier Woodville-West Torrens.

He picked up 44 possessions during the 30-point victory at Adelaide Oval to win the Jack Oatey Medal.

North Albury finished eighth on the ladder this year with three wins and has added Schmidt, young Murray Magpies forward Will McGrath and Thurgoona youngster Joel Roberson to their ranks.

The Hoppers have also announced long-time St Patrick’s junior coach Paul Azzi as their third grade mentor.

He takes over from John Teunon who had two years at the helm.

Wodonga has appointed former Ovens and Murray coach Robbie Jackson as its under-18 coach.

Meanwhile, former Corowa-Rutherglen key position player Jared Lane will coach Narrandera for a second season.

Lane was one of many former players targeted by the Roos but has opted to stay with the Riverina league club as it attempts to climb off the bottom of the ladder.

It will be his third year at the club.