Former Fitzroy player takes on senior co-coaching role

Posted on - Latest News, Premier B Men's, Featured, Fitzroy

Former Fitzroy AFL player, Nick Mitchell, has been appointed to share the senior coaching role at the Fitzroy Football Club, joining current Senior Coach, Michael Pickering, at the helm.

Mitchell was Senior Assistant Coach alongside Pickering in 2015 and the pair have formed a strong team which they hope can steer the Roys in the direction of Premier B finals in 2016.

Mitchell brings excellent playing and coaching experience to the role.

Spending four years on the Fitzroy Lions’ senior list in the mid 90s, he played nine senior games in that time. He was also captain and a best and fairest winner with St Bernard’s and regular representative in VAFA state teams. Most recently, Mitchell was a premiership player at West Brunswick in 2014 and has played over 300 senior games.

Mitchell’s coaching experience includes three years as Senior Coach at Old Geelong FC (2009-2011) and Assistant Coach with St Bernard’s, where he took over the senior reins in the latter part of 2013. He has been Senior Assistant Coach with Fitzroy since late 2014.

“I’m extremely excited to be appointed as Fitzroy Co-Coach but to be honest things won’t be a lot different. Michael has been so welcoming since I came to the club last year and we’ve worked as a team from the start, so really it’s just a small shift,” Mitchell says.

“We have different personalities – different players gravitate towards each of us and that works really well too.”

Mitchell says the focus right now is on retention and recruitment, but he expects natural improvement from the young team will take them forward in 2016 and anything less than finals would be a disappointment.

“We have an exciting style of play and the effort and intensity this year was fantastic. As a young group I really believe there will be some natural improvement, particularly with further strength and fitness training in the pre-season.

“We just need to add a few more quality players to our list to assist with taking the next step. A couple of key position players would really take some pressure off the likes of Daniel Bisetto (Fitzroy co-captain) who is currently being asked to play multiple positions.

“If we had taken our chances last year we would have played finals, so we are not far off where we need to get to next season. Now is the time to make our mark.”

Former Richmond player, Pickering, has been at the helm at Fitzroy Football Club since 2012 and says the sharing of the senior role will allow a more specific focus on particular aspects of player development designed to take the club to the next level.

Pickering says he thinks the co-coaching model will work well.

“It is a great opportunity for two experienced coaches, who complement each other in approaches and capabilities, to devote more time to the areas in our playing group and game plan that will hopefully benefit our overall on-field performances.”

Pickering was appointed Fitzroy Senior Coach in 2012, taking the team to the Premier C grand final and subsequent promotion to Premier B, the highest level in the club’s VAFA history. He played over 150 AFL games; 136 with Richmond and 14 with Melbourne. He was Richmond’s Best & Fairest in 1988 and Vice-Captain in 1989, kicking 161 goals.

Pickering was also Assistant Reserves Coach at Richmond (1998-1999) and he spent a season as Assistant Coach for the Western Jets’ TAC squad. Prior to joining Fitzroy he was with the Fitzroy Junior Football Club, coaching the Colts U17 side to the Juniors first Division 1 Premiership in 2007.

John Marshall will continue in the role as Senior Coach of the Fitzroy–ACU Women’s team playing in the Victorian Women’s Football League.

Fitzroy concluded the 2015 season in sixth position on the Prmeier B ladder, with eight wins from their 18 matches.