K rock Football

Witney to step down at Lions

Outgoing Belmont Lions coach Ash Witney (krockfootball.com.au Image/Darren Phillips)

BELMONT Lions have become the first GDFL club to confirm they’re on the hunt for a new coach for 2020, with Ash Witney to step down at the end of the season.

Witney revealed he told the Lions’ committee and playing group of his decision last week.

“The club asked me to go on next year, but I won’t be,” he said. “I informed the playing group and the committee last Tuesday.

“I’ve got a new job now and the hours are long, and every Saturday.

“So, with training for the last five weeks, I’ve been getting to training about 6:30pm-6:45pm, and getting to games at 1:45pm.

“It’s not ideal for a senior coach, so I’ll be stepping down at the end of the year.”


Witney, who played with Bell Post Hill and Grovedale before taking the Lions’ job in a non-playing role last year, has battled to revive the on-field fortunes at Winter Reserve.

The Lions won five games in his first season in charge, with three losses by less than three goals.

They have just one win to their name in 2019 after beating wooden spoon-bound Corio by 97 points in last Saturday’s Indigenous Game, despite adding former Bell Post Hill duo Nick Costello and Blake Podnar.

“I thought we’d be a lot more competitive than what we’ve been,” Witney said.

“I think it’s lapses in games that have cost us a fair few games. It’s been a disappointing year so far.

“I think our best footy is up in that group that is pushing for the last spot in the finals. But our worst footy is sitting where we are with one win.

“We’ve got try and bridge that gap.”

Witney also confirmed star midfielder and brother Dylan will miss the rest of the season through injury.

The younger Witney suffered damage to his medial ligament in the loss to Bell Post Hill and he also requires a hernia operation when he returns from overseas work commitments later this month.

And off-season acquisition Ben Amery also won’t be seen again until 2020 after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against North Geelong in Round 2.

However, Witney says Amery didn’t realise the significance of the injury until a month later.

“He was pushing through and getting through games, and then he pulled up lame after the East Geelong game.

“He went into the doctors and got a scan done, and he’s actually torn his ACL.

“So he was playing with a torn ACL for four weeks.”

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