NEW Lavington captain Andrew Taylor has labelled Robbie Mackinlay the best cricket coach in country NSW.
And it’s for that reason Taylor says the Panthers are optimistic about their chances of remaining in premiership contention.
The reigning Cricket Albury-Wodonga premier has suffered a raft of key departures since claiming last season’s Provincial title and has been forced to turn to some fresh faces ahead of the new season.
Key figures Liam Scammell, James Tonkin, Aaron West and Michael Klein-Boonschate have all left, with Tom Stead still undecided about his playing future.
Mackinlay, who helped West with the coaching duties last season, will take charge on a full-time basis this summer and Taylor — man of the match in last season’s premiership — couldn’t be happier about it.
“I reckon Robbie is the best country coach in NSW,” Taylor said.
“Being a Holbrook boy, I’ve had the privilege of growing up with him coaching a lot of the teams and he’s been a great coach for me.
“He’s heavily involved in all of the state’s elite programs and coaches the state’s second XI.
“All that stuff speaks for itself.”
Although Taylor said it would be hard to replace the players the Panthers had lost, he was confident of finding successors.
“Obviously you can’t replace guys like Tonkin, Scammell and Klein-Boonschate, but you can certainly develop the next one,” he said.
“We’ve won the past two second-grade premierships and so there is plenty to work with.
“The opportunities will definitely be there for the guys that are willing to do the work.
“It’s going to be a good challenge.”
Despite losing a host of stars, Lavington has replaced them with Holbrook trio Hayden Wishart, Josh Jones and Will Heriot all committing to the Panthers for next season.
Bryce Swift and Mick Howard have also joined the club.