K rock Football

Magpies make appointment

New North Geelong coach Ayden George (left) with Magpies president Jason Habib. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

AYDEN George says a year at Torquay under Dom Gleeson changed his view on a senior coach being able to combine the role with also playing.

George has been confirmed as the new coach of GDFL club North Geelong, filling the role vacated by Magpies premiership mentor Darren Ryan.

And the Ballarat product looks will continue a playing career that has seen him spend six years in the VFL system, while also playing in four premierships at a local level, including the last two years with Carisbrook in the Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League.

“Seeing the way Dom went about it, being a playing coach – I was probably always against playing coaches and thought that it was a big task to do,” he said.

“Obviously having the right support network behind you allows you to do it.”

George, 33, only came onto North Geelong’s radar in recent weeks through a work connection with Magpies president Jason Habib.

“Not knowing much about the leagues down here – I obviously had a year at Torquay, but it’s not like I’ve grown up my whole life knowing much about the Geelong area,” he said.

“So I’ve done a fair bit of research in recent weeks.

“In the last week, speaking to people I respect and good football people, I’ve realised that it’s a pretty good football club, it’s got a very proud history.

“I’m excited about the youth – and it’s alright to have youth, but the talented youth everyone talks about.

“And the club is very keen to head in a new direction, and I feel that that suits me down to the ground.”

Despite being in the twilight of his career, George is confident he can contribute on the field.

“I feel like I’ve probably got the ability to play at both ends,” he said.

“I’m really hoping I don’t have to play midfield, so I’m looking forward to that.

“And I guess with a young, enthusiastic group; I think it’s their turn to step up and lead the way if this football club is going to move forward.”

George will now turn his attention to list retention and recruiting, and former Magpies playing at higher levels should expect a phone call.

“I know there are guys out there who have tried their hand at GFL football, and I’ll definitely be sounding out those guys to see if they’re ready to come back,” he said.

“Likewise, if we’ve got some young kids in the future that want to go and try their hand at GFL, you give them the opportunity, and when the time’s right to come back, they’ll come back.”

The appointment of George leaves Inverleigh and Bell Post Hill as the only clubs looking to fill their senior coaching position for 2019.

Twitter: @tom_king79

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