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Whittlesea senior football coach resigns

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

Whittlesea Football Club’s senior coach Wayne Van Der Ross has stepped down from his position effective immediately.

Van Der Ross informed the club of the decision on Monday night and informed the playing group last night prior to training.

Van Der Ross had a conversation with the club two weeks ago where he was notified Whittlesea were going a different direction and were going to advertise for a new senior coach.

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Whittlesea’s senior football team has not won a game this year in the Northern Football Netball League’s division one seniors competition.

It was Van Der Ross’ first season at the Eagles.

He was told if he was still interested in the position, he would need to reapply.

“I said no I’m not going to do that. If [Whittlesea] wanted me they would have offered me the job but I said I’m happy to stay and coach out the year,” Van Der Ross said.

After Whittlesea’s 15-goal loss to Hurstbridge on Saturday, Van Der Ross decided to step down immediately.

“Essentially I did one more game and with the really bad loss on the weekend it just made it worse,” he said

“I just felt like after being told you’re not going to be there next year you feel like you’re not wanted anymore so I made the decision to step aside immediately and hand the reigns over to the senior assistant coaches to take over.”

The coaching team led by Paul Higgins, senior assistant Cam McCormick and James Robinson will take over coaching duties until the end of the season.

Development coaches Jack Dyson and Andrew Draper will also assist.

Van Der Ross said he had no words to say about the club.

“This is part of coaching. When you’re with a club you might be there for a couple of years or you might only be there for a year or two,” he said.

“They gave me the opportunity and I’m really grateful for that.

“We left on good terms. Other people might see if differently but everything is fine and I wish them all the best.”

Whittlesea Football Netball Club president Adrian Stewart said the relationship between the club and Van Der Ross remained amicable.

“It was a very amicable departure, which speaks volumes of him and I think he was very reasonable and very much loved by the group and club,” he said.

“We got on well so it was disappointing but what it does do is it gives us the opportunity to look towards next year.”

Stewart said the club was looking to next season and focusing on boosting its younger players.

“We’ve appointed a 19s coach for next year but due to current commitments, we’re not announcing that but it’s a very well credentialed candidate,” he said.

“We obviously missed the boat this year with the 19s but that won’t happen again next year.

“We’ll have a big group of kids and we expect that we’ll be able to recruit some of our former players and juniors back to the club in the off season so we’ll have strong numbers next year.

“Whether we’re in division one or division two, that’s irrelevant. I don’t think that’ll change anything in terms of our off-season.

“The search is on and we’re already well into talking to potential coaches. We should be advertising officially probably over the bye weekend.”

Van Der Ross said his coaching future was currently uncertain but he would focus on spending time with family.

“I don’t really know my future. It’s still pretty fresh,” he said.

“Now that I’ve got time off I don’t have to travel for training and games so I’ll probably spend more time with my kids. I’ve got a young family.

“Footy takes up a lot of your time midweek and on the weekends so it’s probably time to just reflect and spend more time with the kids.

“I’ll assess and see what’s available and hopefully get another job or maybe just take a year off and travel, spending more time with family.”

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