K rock Football

Time right for Ruggles

New Drysdale co-coach Tom Ruggles in action for Leopold. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

NEWLY-appointed Drysdale co-coach Tom Ruggles says the time was right for him to return to his junior club.

The former Geelong defender, who will share the role with 2009 premiership teammate Ben Carmichael, last played with the Hawks while on the Geelong Falcons list in 2010.

Since then, Ruggles had stints at Werribee, Leopold and Geelong VFL before earning a rookie spot on the Cats’ AFL list.

The 29-year-old managed 22 matches in the Hoops before being delisted at the end of 2017 and returning to Leopold as a playing assistant coach under Guy Morphett.

“My body’s getting a bit older, and I didn’t want to go back and mosey around and just get through a few games,” he said.

“I want to come back and have an impact on the club.

“That’s been my thought process for the past 12 months, and now it’s come through.”

Ruggles says he’s had an appetite to coach for several years and is looking forward to using that knowledge to help develop Drysdale’s list.

“I’ve always viewed the game a bit differently to others,” he said. “Rather than just playing, I’ve thought about it more than that.

“Going back to Leopold and coaching next to ‘Morph’ and helping him out and learning from him.

“Even my time at Geelong. When I did my shoulder (in 2017), I spent most of my rehab sitting with ‘Scarlo’ (assistant coach Matthew Scarlett) doing the backline review and all that sort of stuff.

“It’s been something I’ve always wanted to do, and time is right now with Luke (Matthews) handing over.”

Ruggles says Drysdale juniors playing with GFL and GDFL clubs can expect a phone call in the coming weeks as he and Carmichael start building their list for 2022.

“Luke has done an awesome job the last few years of getting some one-point players back, and myself and ‘Binga’ have got to continue that,” Ruggles said.

“There’s a couple at Leopold we will leave alone out of respect.

“But, there are definitely other one-pointers around the leagues, and we definitely want to get them home over the next few years.”

Ruggles has ruled himself out of Leopold’s final two home-and-away matches following the announcement.

Twitter: @tom_king79