Albury Hotspurs are looking for a new senior coach.
James Eggleston is stepping down but still plans to play next season, with travel a key factor in his decision.
Eggleston lives in Mount Beauty and works in Falls Creek so the commute to Albury, especially for training in midweek, has made his role a tricky one.
"I found this season particularly challenging," he said.
"It was already going to be tough for me, being a distant coach. From home it's about two-and-a-half hours return and if I was coming from work, up the mountain, I was travelling up to three hours to come into training.
"The club and I had spoken about that challenge before the season, understanding how to manage that and having support if I was late or unavailable.
"But living in Victoria and coaching an Albury side, the biggest challenge was the fact that if we were locked down, training could continue in Albury but I wasn't able to make it.
"I found that really difficult, being a coach who couldn't always be present.
"The team and the club did a very good job of handling that. John Irvine, Matt Townsend and Brian Vanega really stepped up when I needed them and the players were very flexible.
"But there were so many occasions when I couldn't get there and it was such a circuit-breaker for us. It kept interrupting everything we were trying to work on."
Hotspurs achieved Eggleston's target of sixth place in AWFA, winning six of their 14 games and drawing four, but there's set to be a different voice in the huddle next year.
"It's just so hard to get to Albury regularly," Eggleston admitted.
"I'm certainly keen to play, even if that means getting there when I can and doing a role in reserves. I'll just be happy to be on the park.
"I know the club's in conversation with a couple of people and I'm keen to support as much as I can.
"I didn't think I was going to play at all this year because of injuries. I want to get my body right over summer, I'm in a better spot now than I was 12 months ago and hopefully I can still be a leader among the players."
ALSO IN SPORT
They may have been denied the chance to play finals but Hotspurs made strides in 2021.
"To have the competition respect us now is really pleasing," Eggleston said.
"We wanted to develop and be a viable option for new players, as a family-orientated, supportive club and I think we absolutely nailed that this year.
"We had a lot of new players added to our list, our reserves team did really well, we managed to run a thirds team, which only four clubs did, our women had a really good season and all of our junior girls teams finished top of the ladder.
"We have the vibe and the feel of a club people want to be part of."
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