HORSHAM Saints have wasted no time appointing a new senior coach, securing the big signature of former AFL footballer Shayne Breuer for 2014.
Breuer – who played 125 AFL games for Geelong and Port Adelaide between 1994 and 1999 – steps into the role vacated by Phil Butsch, who stepped down last week due to personal reasons.
Breuer coached Kalkee to the Horsham District Football League grand final in 2007, and was appointed coach of the North Ballarat Rebels under-16 Wimmera squad in November last year.
He will continue his role at the Rebels while coaching the Saints.
Breuer said it was a tough decision to leave Kalkee, where he and his family have been involved for a number of years.
“I’m pretty excited to take the reins, but it’s a bit disappointing the way it’s come about for Butschy,” he said.
“It was a tough decision – I thought I’d probably never go anywhere else, but the opportunity came up to coach at Wimmera league level and at a club like the Saints, which is fantastic.
“In the end it was something I couldn’t really pass up.”
Breuer will focus on continuing to develop both junior and senior talent within the club to help the Saints flourish long-term.
“I think it all starts new – I’m not really looking at where they’ve been,'' he said.
"Sure, they made the grand final last year, which was a fantastic effort, but there’s a fair change in personnel.
"We’ve got to assess what we’ve got and put in place a program where our kids can improve and our older guys can keep improving, and that will result in better outcomes on the footy field and results at the end of the day.”
Breuer said the main attribute he wanted his new charges to have was effort.
“The number one thing I’m going to ask for – and probably a lot of coaches say the same thing – is I just want them to come out and have a go each week and have that ‘don’t give up’ mentality, but also to become smarter footballers and use the ball well,” he said.
Saints president Roger Sordello said the club was delighted to secure Breuer, with the new coach making an immediate impact on the playing group after his appointment on Wednesday night.
“The club is absolutely rapt to get Shayne on-board, especially at this later part of the pre-season,” he said.
“Shayne addressed the players 10 minutes after we agreed and had shaken hands on it, he told them what his vision was, and you could see the players really bonded together and were genuinely excited about the season.
“They’re unfortunate circumstances with Phil, but Shane is a real quality get for the club – he liked the challenge of Horsham Saints, he likes the list and we just think he’s a perfect fit.”
Mr Sordello said Butsch had the club’s full support and was still confident of playing a role throughout the season on and off the field.