Fresh Soup for Old Brighton’s main course in 2024

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Old Brighton has announced Marcel Bruin as the next senior coach of the Tonners. 

The boys of Brighton Beach Oval were on the lookout for a new leader after Dan Donati made the decision to head back home to the Old Xaverians in 2024 after one year in charge of Old Brighton.

Affectionately known as “Soupy” is a club legend with the red and blue. Originally hailing from Springvale in the VFL, Bruin joined the Tonners in 2006 and was a member of the clubs first A Grade Grand Final in 2007. 

He featured in the clubs B-Grade Premiership in 2013, became a two-time best and fairest winner and as well as becoming the captain of the club. 

Once Bruin’s decorated playing career came to a close, he spent the last eight years as a senior assistant in the VAFA. Seven of those years with Caulfield Grammarians, working with another Brighton legend Simon “Punchy” Williams, helping to take them from C-Grade to A-Grade including the 2019 Premier B Premiership as part of the run.

Bruin reunited with the Tonners in 2023 as the club’s senior assistant coach being responsible for the midfield, in 2024 he is now the main man calling the shots. 

President of Old Brighton Tom Clarke used the back half of September, and all of October before he and the Committee settled on Bruin as the successor to Donati. 

“We undertook a thorough process to appoint the next coach and spoke with a number of highly credentialed candidates. In the end, we were really excited to promote someone from within our community to the position.” Clarke told VAFA Media

“Marcel demonstrated he had a great vision for our footy club, he knows the boys and what we need to do to build on some great work done this year.” 

Bruin will be supported by Luke Daffy and Josh Homann, who were assistant coaches this season. They have a lot to offer and use their strong character as the backbone of the coaching structure at the Tonners. 

Rounding out the coaching structure at the Tonners, Old Brighton will be welcoming back into the fold Greg Hutchison as Director of Coaching. 

Hutchy was the clubs longest serving senior coach and has over 30 years experience in coaching, including at the highest level. Hutchy is another who is passionate about seeing Old Brighton succeed, and will be a great resource to improve our coaching development across all teams.

“We took a lot of positives out of this year but also learned some really valuable lessons about what is required to be successful in the VAFA.” 

“It is the strongest local footy competition in the land. There is a great feeling around the footy club about what we can achieve in 2024, and the appointment of Marcel, Luke, Josh and Hutch have added to that excitement.” Clarke said. 

Old Brighton finished 2023 in fifth spot on the ladder with nine wins, and nine losses next to their name. The club is excited to see what season 2024 will bring to the club as it searches for its elusive first William Buck Premier title. 

Around the grounds, newcomers to William Buck Premier; Fitzroy have also found their replacement to Luke Mahoney for the 2024 season, Travis Ronaldson. 

Ronaldson has come to Fitzroy after a successful VFL career, captaining Coburg from 2006–2007, including a grand final in 2007. 

He was named in the VFL Team of the Year in 2007 and finished third in the Liston Medal. 

Following his time in the VFL, Travis was a playing assistant coach at Old Scotch in the VAFA and coached Old Ivanhoe to a senior C Grade premiership in 2013 and into B Grade in 2014. He has also captain/coached in major football leagues in regional Victoria. 

Travis’ time spent in amateur football has given him a great understanding of the nature of amateur clubs and their unique environment and culture.

In recent times Travis has been working in professional sport as Head of Strength and Conditioning and Performance Dietitian at two NRL clubs, as well as the Gold Coast Suns.

Travis is passionate about coaching, and his energetic and enthusiastic approach, along with his communication style is expected to be a great fit at Fitzroy.

Current available VAFA coaching positions can be found on the VAFA Jobs Board.