K rock Football

Tiger takes VFL coaching role

Torquay veteran James Saker has taken a coaching role with Werribee. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

JAMES Saker says a chance to take an assistant coaching role with VFL club Werribee was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

The veteran Torquay defender, who played 50 games with the VFL Tigers between 2008-11, has been appointed as backline and team defence coach under former teammate Michael Barlow.

“If I didn’t take up the opportunity this time around, who knows if and when it would have come around again,” Saker said.

“I get to work alongside Mick, and we’ve known each other for a long time and are good mates.

“His passion for the footy club has shone through, and I’m excited to help him out.”

Saker is no stranger to coaching.

The star defender departed Werribee for a six-year stint in charge of Ovens and Murray League club Lavington, guiding them to two grand final appearances during his time in charge.

He says getting into a system like the VFL was something he has thought about as his playing days draw to a close.

“It was something I had an eye on, but I didn’t think it would come around this quick,” Saker said.

“I was keen to keep playing in a full-time capacity, but like a lot of people, the last two years have been a little bit funny with all the COVID stuff.

“My passion lies more in the coaching space than the coaching space at the minute, is what it boils down to.”

However, Saker hasn’t ruled out pulling on the boots with Torquay in 2022 after an Achilles injury limited him to only four matches in 2021.

“If the planets align, yes,” he said. “But, I’m wary though that Torquay is going to be very strong, so I might be just having a kick in the 12 o’clock game to keep a connection with boys.

“I have said to Dom (Gleeson, Torquay coach), we’ve just got to wait and see what happens with the fixture to see if it’s actually achievable.”

Twitter: @tom_king79