Daniel Maher is glad to finally be on Craig Ednie's side. After years as rivals with Ovens and Murray heavyweights Albury and Yarrawonga, the pair will join forces at Rennie in the Picola and District league this season. The Border Mail's BRETT KOHLHAGEN caught up with Maher earlier this week.
BK: Craig Ednie has been a master recruiter for Rennie in recent seasons, signing former opponents like Matt Pendergast, Brad Murray and Judd Porter. How did he add you to his list?
DM: I've obviously known Craig for quite a few years and he first gave me a call about 18 months ago. At that stage I'd committed to the Murray Magpies so we put it on hold. Then sure enough he called back and we had a chat and worked things out. I've had a couple of training sessions and a kick against CDHBU the other week which was good. 'Penda' (Matt Pendergast) was a huge part of it as well. He gave the club glowing reports as a whole and I've really enjoyed it so far. Hopefully we get to play at some stage this year.
BK: There are a lot of Yarrawonga players at Rennie. Being a former Albury player, how have you fitted in considering the great rivalry between the clubs over the past decade or so?
DM: It's been good. Obviously Craig is there along with blokes like Marc Lonergan, Nic O'Bryan, Luke Ednie and Dean Bigger. A few of us are veterans in our 30s so your relationships grow a lot more when you are playing with them rather than against. Brad Thompson and 'Penda' are there as well so it will be good fun.
BK: You've just been through two really tough seasons at the Murray Magpies. Can the club turn things around?
DM: I hope so. The facilities and location are a huge tick for the club but obviously it has to break a stigma from the past which can be hard and take time. There are people at the club who have stuck by it which is great. You learn a lot about yourself during tough times and it was definitely difficult over the past couple of years. Brett (Argus) puts in a lot of effort though and I just think he needs some more recruits to take a step forward.
BK: I imagine plenty of clubs would have been chasing your signature?
DM: Not really. I had a few calls but it was knocked on the head pretty early because I had a fair idea what I wanted to do. I thought about going back to Albury and playing in the ressies so they could call on someone on a Thursday night if they needed. I'm getting to the end of it but I'd love to get back involved at the club again. My son, Pacey, is now involved with Albury ... if my body holds up, then I'd love the chance to play a game or two with him. That would certainly be the biggest highlight of my football career.
BK: Do you know much about the Picola league?
DM: Not a lot, but I'm picking up bits and pieces from the Rennie boys. Strathmerton and Waaia are usually strong and Sam Wright has gone from North Melbourne to Katamatite so you would expect them to do well too.
BK: You coached Albury for five years, how tough would it be dealing with coronavirus?
DM: The biggest thing is the health and safety of the individual players and their families at the moment. That's the priority. Football takes a back seat to everything else. As a coach, you would have individual training programs or schedules in place but a lot is out of your control.