Following a hugely successful 2016 representative campaign, Ben Lockwood has been reappointed as Senior Coach of the SFNL Interleague team for the 2017 AFL Victoria Community Championships
The East Malvern coach took over the reins of the side from former North Melbourne premiership star David King in December 2015, and led the SFNL to a drought-breaking 48-point representative victory over the Ellinbank & District Football League last season.
Lockwood, whose involvement in the SFNL Interleague program dates back to 2008, said he was looking forward to the next challenge as Southern prepares to host Central Highlands Football League on May 13.
“Yeah, absolutely. It’s always a good challenge and it’s always good to work with the cream of the SFNL players,” Lockwood said.
“I think we’ve still got a good couple of years where we can keep moving forward as a league and we’ve got an opportunity again this year taking on a league that we will be matched up pretty well against.”
Brad Collins, the right-hand man to Dingley’s dual premiership coach Shane Morwood, also returns to the Interleague set up as Lockwood’s Senior Assistant Coach, while two fresh faces have also been added to the assistant coaching panel in Tony Lavars and Steve Kidd.
Lavars called time on his decorated playing career after last year’s Division 1 Senior Grand Final, bowing out as a three-time Dingley premiership captain. Widely regarded as one of the finest leaders the Southern league has seen, Lavers was a popular choice as captain of the 2016 Interleague team.
Kidd, now in his third season as senior coach of Caulfield, has helped transform the once success-starved club into one of the leading premiership contenders in Division 2. Originally from a VAFA background, Kidd steered the Bears to a preliminary final in 2015 and the grand final last season – the club’s first in 22 years.
Lockwood said his three lieutenants would each bring a different skill set and a fresh perspective to the group, which will be vital to the overall success of the program.
“Lavers, obviously with his retirement, we thought he was a natural fit to come in,” Lockwood explained.
“He relates to the players really well, he’s a natural leader. You look at the way Dingley played, mate, he was an onfield coach, to be honest.
“(Kidd) gets (his players) to gel pretty well and they play a pretty exciting brand of footy, Caulfield. He’s got a really attacking mindset and it will be good to see what he can bring to the group.
“And Bear (Collins), he’s got a lot of experience and brings a winning culture from Dingley with him. He was good around the group last year and he’s got a lot of ideas, both defensively and offensively.”
Wayne Fuller will again sit on the selection panel, while SFNL Director of Umpiring Peter Marshall returns to lead the match day running and fitness program.
Meanwhile, the SFNL will field an Under 19 Interleague team to play the Central Highlands in a curtain-raiser to the senior representative match, a departure from the Under 18 team assembled for last year’s Community Championships and in-line with the SFNL’s own youth competition.
Nathan Harris will return as head coach of the SFNL Under 19 team in 2017 and will again be supported by assistant coaches Peter Freeman, Wayne Herbstreit and Lachlan Batt.
Further coaching support for the Under 19 team will be announced in the coming months.
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Ben Lockwood (left) will again lead the SFNL Senior Interleague team in 2017, while 2016 captain Tony Lavars (right) joins the coaching panel.[/caption]
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Highly-rated Caulfield coach Steve Kidd has been appointed an Assistant Coach of the 2017 Interleague team.[/caption]