K rock Football

Nicol departs Newcomb

Outgoing Newcomb co-coach Rory Nicol. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

RORY Nicol knew it was time.

As he sat in his car at Grinter Reserve on June 9 letting the reality sink in that the 2020 BFL season had been officially cancelled, Nicol then started to grapple with the notion that he wouldn’t coach Newcomb again.

“I drove in thinking we were going to train and getting a little bit excited about the season because I thought we could play finals,” he said.

“And it did a total 180. AFL Barwon came out and said the season was cancelled, so instead of training, we sat around and had a bit of a chat, a couple of beers, and I got in the car in the car park – I was the last one to leave – and I started to cry a bit.

“I knew in my heart that it was over. I rang my wife (Jess) on the way home, and I was a bit upset.

“It was hard. It would have been nice to have a season and know that it is my last season and savour the moment and savour the games and savour everyone’s company.

“I guess it was more emotional because I don’t get to have that.”

Nobody in local football would argue that Nicol deserved the chance to finish what he had started.

He has taken the Power from BFL basketcase to again a respected member of the competition in just under five years in charge.

But Nicol’s around football long enough that he’d done his bit, and announced his decision to step down to his players at Grinter Reserve on Thursday night.

“It’s stage two now. I’ve completed stage one and got them to the point where I wanted it to be – where I set out for it to be when I took on the role,” Nicol said.

“Now it’s the start of stage two, and I don’t see the benefits of me being step one of stage two. I think Jye (Walker, co-coach) needs to find somebody to assist him that will stick out stage two.

“If Jye’s going to do a 4-5 year tenure like he says he will, then I think they’ve got to find someone that’s going to do 2-3 years with him.”

Nicol, who took on the role in September 2015, said he didn’t want to outstay his welcome.

“I just think step one of stage two, they’ll progress further with a fresh face,” he said.

“Although they don’t think that at the moment, and they’re disappointed I’m leaving, once they get a new person in with Jye, they’ll feel good and energetic with someone with fresh ideas and fresh energy.

“In terms of the playing group, I think that’s what best for them.”

The records will show Nicol’s four-year tenure only reaped nine wins and a draw from 72 games, but coaching Newcomb was more than just trying to claim four points every Saturday afternoon.

“When you walk into a club that’s getting beaten by 300 points, a lot’s not going right, is it?” Nicol mused.

“Last night touched me; where people stood up in front of me or were on video saying how much I changed their lives for the better.

“I know people say we’re in a win-loss industry, but I disagree with that.

“We’re not a footy club; we’re a family at Newcomb. I’m proud of how tight-knit the club is now.”

When Nicol took over ahead of the 2016 season, the Power hadn’t won since 2013.

It would take until mid-2017 to break the drought, beating Portarlington in a memorable afternoon at home, having fallen just short earlier in the year with a heartbreaking draw against Queenscliff.

However, it’s what would ultimately be Nicol’s last win that he lists as his favourite.

“Drysdale at Drysdale was pleasing because I respected Drysdale; I thought they were a really good chance to play in a grand final,” he said.

“I think that was the day the players got belief – it clicked for them that day; “we can do this, we’re not a bad footy side”. They banded together and really played for each other.

“Portarlington was a good one just for the elation of the people of the club – people in tears and that sort of thing.

“But local football’s a relationship industry, not a win-loss industry, and the memories are the relationships I’ve created in the club, and they’ll forever stay with me.

“I’ll always be able to walk back into the Newcomb Football Club and be welcomed with open arms. That’s what means the most to me.”

Nicol is unsure what the future holds in football, with only a get together at Grinter Reserve to celebrate his tenure when restrictions ease sufficiently enough on the radar.

“In terms of coaching, I feel like I’ve got a lot to offer,” he said. “I’m looking for a new challenge … something to get me out of my comfort zone again.

“That might not be football. It might be something to do with business.

That’s the exciting thing; I’m not locked into anything.

“I’m happy to explore options and see what’s out there for me.”

Twitter: @tom_king79