Old Xaverians Football Club has announced it will defend its 2016 William Buck Premier crown with 264-game AFL player, James McDonald, at the helm as he replaces outgoing premiership coaches, Ted Woodruff and Pat Hawkins.
In a statement released by President, Bill Denton, the change was made based on a new strategic approach to coaching at the club and a subsequent increase in time commitment and demand on the senior coaching role.
“We know that an increased investment in coaching is required, due to the continued growth in our playing numbers and the introduction of our women’s team,” Denton said.
“Therefore, the role of our Senior Coach will change with increased responsibilities to include player development programs, oversight of coaching curriculum and game styles across all teams, enhanced coaching capability and a charter to ensure all our players are given the opportunity to perform at their maximum with the best available coaching information, support and resources through our partnerships.”
McDonald played in the 1996 Old Xaverians senior premiership team before carving out a 16-year AFL career with Melbourne and GWS.
Read the full statement below:
“In response to the changes shaping community football and in particular the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA), the Old Xaverians Football Club has undertaken a strategic review to identify important issues that require action to ensure that the Club remains a leader in VAFA, improves our community engagement with all of our stakeholders and achieves commercial sustainability.
To be strong in these areas requires long term strategic planning and commitment from all stakeholders to achieve pragmatic, sustainable solutions for our Club to respond to the five key priorities we have identified:
- Football Coaching Operations
- Women’s Football
- Finances & Future funding
- Planning and Resources
Our longer term coaching planning commenced in 2015 when we formulated an important strategic partnership between Old Xaverians Football Club, Xavier College and Victoria University. This partnership has a series of mutually beneficial goals with the core objective to establish a consistent and contemporary approach to the development of coaches in the football program across each campus of Xavier College and Old Xaverians Football Club to ensure that each player and team is provided with the greatest possible opportunity to perform at their best.
As part of our partnership, we were delighted with the appointment of Lachlan Buszard in May 2016 as Football Program Development Manager for Xavier College. Lachlan’s appointment was the first step in our plan to raise the level of coaching capability across Xavier College and the Old Xaverians Football Club with the support of the Sport Exercise and Science resources at Victoria University.
Our next step was to complete a review of our Club coaching as endorsed by the committee at our recent 3 year strategic planning day. Our Football Director Matt Hannebery was appointed to conduct the review with the specific objective to further improve the coaching requirements for our Club to deliver not only on-field senior team success, but also an integrated and aligned approach to training and player development through a consistent coaching and game style across all teams.
This is a new strategic approach to coaching at our Club. We know that an increased investment in coaching is required, due to the continued growth in our playing numbers and the introduction of our women’s team. Therefore, the role of our Senior Coach will change with increased responsibilities to include player development programs, oversight of coaching curriculum and game styles across all teams, enhanced coaching capability and a charter to ensure all our players are given the opportunity to perform at their maximum with the best available coaching information, support and resources through our partnerships.
Naturally this change in role means a significant increase in the time commitment and demands for the Senior Coach along with an expanded skill base to implement the above objectives. Consequently, this change in role and strategic direction means that our current premiership coaches, Pat Hawkins and Ted Woodruff, will not be appointed to the role of Senior Coach in 2017.
Pat and Ted have done an outstanding job in bringing the Club together after a challenging time in 2014-15. Their passion and love of the Old Xavs was evident in their coaching which ultimately delivered a premiership this year. The Club thanks them and all of their coaching team for their dedication and commitment. We would like to acknowledge and thank Pat and Ted and both their families for their significant contribution and understanding of the Club’s decision to progress its long term strategic plan.
With the changing requirements and responsibilities identified, we are delighted to announce that James McDonald will be our new Senior Coach for 2017. James is an Old Xaverians senior premiership player (1996), having started with our Under 19s. He had a distinguished AFL career with Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Football Clubs. He played 264 AFL games, was dual Best and Fairest winner (2006-2007), Club Captain (2009-2010) and All-Australian (2006) at Melbourne. James, an AFL Accredited Level 3 Coach, finished his playing career at GWS where he was also Assistant Coach for 3 years to Kevin Sheedy and Leon Cameron, before returning to Victoria in 2015.
We welcome James back to the Old Xavs and we look forward to implementing the longer term strategic plan to ensure we deliver the results that are expected by our players, coaches, members and sponsors for 2017 and beyond.”
- Bill Denton (Old Xaverians President)