Tallangatta has appointed a favourite son as coach after another parted company with the club.
Tyson Smith’s appointment was announced on the club’s Facebook page late Monday night.
The club also said two-year mentor Sam Livingstone had stepped down as coach, praising him for his time, dedication and commitment.
Speculation had been rife for at least a fortnight Livingstone and the Hoppers had parted company.
“I can’t say too much because I don’t know all the details,” Smith said.
“I’m really looking forward to building a foundation that Sam laid the last couple of years.
“He did do a really good job, particularly developing all the young kids that we have.”
Tallangatta snapped a two-year run outside finals by winning through to the first semi, falling to Thurgoona.
Thirty-one-year Smith has spent a decade with the Hoppers, snaring two best and fairests and captaining the club for seven years.
He also was an assistant for six seasons, including the exhilarating 2015 extra time one-point grand final win over runaway minor premiers Kiewa Sandy Creek.
It was his second premiership, but it was the time under now Wodonga coach Zac Fulford which will shape his coaching.
“I’m really good friends with Zac Fulford, so I was assistant coach the three years he coached at Tallangatta and I’ll really try and definitely build on his mantra of being hard at the contest and playing team-first footy at all times,” Smith said.
I’m really good friends with Zac Fulford ... and I’ll really try and definitely build on his mantra of being hard at the contest and playing team-first footy at all times.Tyson Smith
Tallangatta toppled Mitta United in the elimination final by 20 ponits before the 64-point hiding to eventual grand finalists Thurgoona in the first semi-final.
The Hoppers have lost two of their top three players though in the best and fairest.
Boom forward Tom Johnson has returned to Wodonga after a year with the Hoppers, while best and fairest Bob Russell is also returning to his former club.
Johnson finished third in the Hoppers’ top award.
Tallangatta also fielded a number of former rugby players, but it’s believed the rugged Levi Freeman will focus on other commitments.
And despite falling in the first semi, the Hoppers were just a win, as well as a percentage of 15, from sealing the double chance.
That will instill confidence at the club it doesn’t have to take a giant step forward to finish top three.
The signing of Smith means all 12 clubs now have their coaches in place for 2019.
Smith says he’s uncertain of Livingstone’s movements, but was adamant he will return to the club in the future.
“He definitely wants to come back to Tallangatta down the track,” he said.
Livingstone doubled the amount of wins from his first year to second.
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