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Tanner departs Lions’ Den

Former Belmont Lions coach Grant Tanner addresses his players during the Round 10 loss to Inverleigh. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Darren Phillips)

BELMONT Lions have parted company with Grant Tanner with five rounds remaining in the GDFL season.

President George Baker has told krockfootball.com.au, the Lions’ playing group were informed before training tonight the former Geelong midfielder wouldn’t see out the year and assistant coach Jason Young will oversee the final five rounds.

The players were also told an appointment for 2018 and beyond could be made as soon as tomorrow.

Tanner’s departure comes four weeks after he was told he would not be re-appointed for a third season.

“So he knew we were going, and we could go ahead and look for a new coach and new players,” Baker said of the decision to let the former Grovedale grand final coach know midway through the season.

“At that stage he was happy to leave, he didn’t think he was going to do much more for us, but we wanted him to coach the year out.

“Now it’s come to five weeks to go and we’re definitely not going anywhere, so we gave him the option that if he still wanted to go, he could go, otherwise he could still coach the year out if he wanted to.

“We both decided to part ways amicably and that’s what we’ve done.”

Tanner, who played 69 games in four seasons with the Cats, was appointed late in the 2016 pre-season as the replacement for David McKiernan, who had taken the Lions to the 2015 finals.

He guided the club to  sixth last year, while 2017 has produced just two wins – against Corio and Anakie.

Baker revealed the Lions, which has the weekend off before hosting Thomson on July 22, had a hit-list of players it would approach once it’s coaching structure for 2018 is finalised.

“But we can’t really talk to them until we appoint our new coach, which should be Friday,” he said.

“We’ve got a 99.9 per cent “OK”, but until he signs we can’t say much.

“We’ve got to get on with getting these players for next year, because out of the 25 (we contact) we might only get 4-5.

“The guy (new coach) is coming from a GFL club and he’s going to bring 2-3 players with him as well.

“We’ve been working pretty hard on the last 4-5 weeks to work out our points and we’ve done some project management with our money.”

Tanner has been contacted for comment.

Twitter: @tom_king79