Wangaratta Rovers are banking on incoming coach Daryn Cresswell’s expertise in developing young talent to kick-start a resurgence.
The Hawks spoke for the first time on Monday after news broke on Friday that the ex-Wodonga Raiders’ mentor was in the running.
The two-year deal was confirmed on the weekend.
“We really wanted somebody who could take our developing guys to the next level,” football operations manager Barry Sullivan said.
“We did explore a number of options far and wide and while Daryn’s intentions weren’t to coach, he saw the talent we had there and thought he could do something with it.
“Obviously he’s got good networks for recruiting. His commitment to his football, once he locks into a task, he goes at it 110 per cent.
“His ability to teach the modern game is first class, his use of video analysis and one-on-one mentoring and game sense drills is just perfect.”
Cresswell is currently holidaying overseas.
He was contacted, via text, on Sunday night, but politely declined to be interviewed while spending vital time with his family before he launches back into the gruelling coaching commitments.
He added he was happy to speak on his return on November 5.
Cresswell has provided though the names of a number of potential recruits to the club and he will be in constant contact.
“We’re not going to leave any stone unturned. The key for us is they’re the right kind of players, they’ve got the right values and be a good fit for our club, then we’ll definitely engage them,” Sullivan said.
“Anyone who’s played good footy at an Ovens and Murray level and equivalent, they’re definitely on our radar.”
The Hawks boast an emerging big man department in under 18 league best and fairest Ed Dayman and fellow thirds’ premiership player Will Christie, along with veteran Shane Gaston and Chris Knowles.
“But we definitely need some more grunt in the midfield, we need a key forward and a key back to support that improvement in the midfield,” Sullivan said.
The former AFL star with Sydney takes over the Hawks at a similar time to his start at Raiders, which had won just six games in two years before Cresswell took them to four straight finals campaigns.
The Hawks, who last played finals in 2014, have won only 13 games in four years, including last season’s winless wooden spoon.
“Next season I think our expectation is that we’re well drilled and improving our competitiveness, but we’re not going to set any limitations or major expectations,” Sullivan said.
“We would definitely see in the next couple of years our climb up the ladder and we want to be contending.”
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