REIGNING premier Tumbarumba has signed Matt Howarth as playing coach for next season.
Howarth, 29, replaces Shane Macintosh at the helm. Macintosh recently signed with former club Marrar, as assistant coach.
The rugged defender joined Tumbarumba this season from North Wagga and was judged best on ground in the Roos’ 33-point grand final victory over Bullioh.
“Coaching is always a challenge but it’s one I’m genuinely excited about,” Howarth said.
“It’s a good club with a good bunch of blokes and I jumped at the opportunity when it became available.
“Shane did a terrific job this year and leaves the club in good shape.
“They are big shoes to fill after winning the flag but I’m confident I can continue the good work.”
The retiring Mark Parr and Aaron Hallcroft are the only other confirmed losses.
In a major boost to the Roos’ chances of claiming a hat-trick of flags, league best and fairest winner Stephen Barnes and leading goalkicker Matt Molkentin have recommitted for next season.
But Howarth was acutely aware the Roos wouldn’t be able to rest on their laurels as they strived for a third consecutive premiership.
“After winning back-to-back flags we have gone from the hunters to being the hunted,” he said.
“We know everyone will be queuing up to have a crack at us and we will have to improve to stay at the top.
“But I’m confident will we be able to keep the departures to a minimum.
“We are presently in negotiations with four or five possible recruits with an assistant coach’s role available.
“A couple of the kids in Tom Bennetts and Ryan Blencowe were exposed to senior football this year and will be better for the experience.
“So it’s looking fairly positive again for next year.”
The Roos will start next season on a 23-match winning streak.