Deer Park has turned to former coach and president Mark McGoldrick to coach the Western Region Football League division 1 club next season.
Looking to replace seven-time premiership winning coach Marc Bullen was always going to be a difficult task, but with a lot of unknown in the local football landscape due to COVID-19, the task became even harder.
Deer Park president Matthew Pratt hatched the idea with McGoldrick about stepping back into the coaching hot seat for 12 months until things had settled down.
“When I went to Mark and put the proposal forward, that I believed that he would be the right person to take the role on at this point of time, whilst the club looked for a more longer term prospect in the future.
“Initially he was a little bit shocked by the approach and thought is this the right move for the club? I explained the situation to Mark.
“At this point in time, a lot of our sponsors and a lot of clubs’ sponsors are affected and don’t know what the landscape will look like.
“Currently we don’t know what our player points system will be as well… That’s why I thought the best decision at this point of time was to appoint someone internally to take it on.”
While McGoldrick has been behind the scenes on the committee in recent years, Pratt was quick to point out his coaching record.
It will be the third time that he’s coached the Lions.
“Mark is an experienced senior coach,” Pratt said.
“Obviously he hasn’t coached in the last few years but prior to that he has a lot of coaching experience at VFL, development level and suburban football level.
“Mark has always been a coach. Mark is really familiar with where the club is at on field and off field, that was really important for us.”
Pratt said with a lot of unknown still around the league and suburban football full stop, it was too early to know what their playing group for next season would be like.
He said several players would have some big calls to make when it came to work and football.
The club was set to field a different looking side this year, with a number of premiership stars having retired or moved on.
“I think the biggest difficulty is the uncertainty and I think that at the end of the day we went with someone who is familiar with our playing group and familiar with where the club is at and I think that was really important for us,” Pratt said.
“The club is really excited by the appointment of Mark. Mark’s been really proactive in talking to the current group.
“We do want to develop younger players and players who are looking to play division 1 and probably haven’t had those opportunities previously by combining with the experienced players at the same time.
“That’s the path we’re looking to take.”