Former Albury Thunder prop Brayden Ballard will move into the senior coaching ranks next season when he takes charge of the Corowa Cougars.
The Murray Cup outfit was eliminated in the opening week of this year’s finals series, but Ballard is hopeful he can take the side further up the ladder.
Ballard will also return to the field for the first time in four years after spending recent seasons coaching under 14s and under 15s sides at the Thunder.
“I’m keen to get back into playing and try something different,” Ballard said.
“I haven’t seen many games, but it (Murray Cup) has definitely grown and it’s definitely something we need in Albury and this area.
“It would be good to help it grow throughout the region, but the goal is to help Corowa get better.
“It’s good for the game having a competition like Murray Cup because it’s an AFL-dominant area.
“Obviously Albury Thunder is the only team in Group 9, but if they can’t play there it’s good that there’s plenty of other choices around the area.
“It’s important to keep it going strong.”
Ballard is confident there is enough quality at the club, but the battle is keeping the playing group together.
“The numbers are definitely there and if we can pick up someone new along the way it would be good,” he said.
“I’m keen to meet new people and see a different point-of-view to see what I can learn from it.”