Kilmore Football Netball Club, pictured July 2021.

By Colin MacGillivray

Kilmore Football Netball Club has already turned an eye to the future by re-signing senior football coach Nathan Phillips for 2022.

Prior to the Northern Football Netball League season being officially abandoned last week, the club announced Phillips’ reappointment.

Kilmore president Paul Maher said the club had prepared for the future by re-signing Phillips.

“We certainly wanted to get him locked away for next season,” Maher said.

“We were confident we had the list to take out the flag this year, and that’s why it was so important to get Nathan locked away early – so that we can start preparing and planning for next year and keeping the list together.

“We’re confident with the current playing list and also some young players coming through from the under 19s that we have the talent there to win the premiership.”

Phillips has been at the helm of the senior side since 2017, including the 2020 season, which was abandoned entirely due to the pandemic.

He said he had no hesitation when the club approached him about re-signing.

“I wouldn’t coach anywhere else,” he said.

“It’s two minutes from home, which makes it easy on me and my family.

“A couple of times I wondered whether I wanted to go again or not, but I think we’ve got unfinished business, especially if we don’t get the chance to play a finals series this year.

“The club, the playing group and myself have definitely got some unfinished business and we want to prove to ourselves that we can achieve what we set out to achieve.”

Kilmore has steadily improved under Phillips’ leadership, from a 2-16 record the year before he joined to a 9-3 record and percentage of 191.8 so far this year.

Phillips said he and Maher had striven to create a culture that supported local footballers.

“It’s about creating an environment where the guys love the club and want to play for the club and stay there because it’s a great place to be and has a good culture,” he said.

“As much as you’re chuffed if blokes want to play under you, you want to make sure that they love the club and even if you did leave they would stay there. That’s what we’re trying to create there, and I think we have.”

“We started at the bottom when myself and ‘Mahery’ as president jumped on board. We came on at the same time and everyone has been able to build, from the players to the committee to even the supporters and sponsors.

“Everyone who has been involved in the club has helped to slowly build us up to where we are now where we’re in the top two or three sides in the comp.”

Maher said he was confident the majority of the senior playing list would be back in 2021 for a tilt at a premiership.

He also paid tribute to the club’s junior development program and said good times were on the horizon if the competition avoided any more COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The great thing about having Nathan there as the head coach for five years is that we have that consistency,” he said.

“He gets on well with the playing group and he’s a great communicator with them, so we’re confident we should be able to retain the majority if not all of the current playing group.

“We want to acknowledge the great effort that Paul Derrick has done as the thirds coach. He’s also an assistant coach for the seniors.

“Craig Micallef has been assisting Nathan, and those three have identified some really good junior talent coming through.

“We certainly hope we’ll continue to nurture local young talent in the under 19s next year because that’s our goal. We want to give local young footballers an opportunity to play senior football at their local club.”