K rock Football

Tom and Lynch to lead Lions

Jeremy Larcombe, Paul Lynch, Jason Tom & Sam Hughes. (krockfootball.com.au Image)

LEOPOLD has turned to former star forward Jason Tom and local coaching great Paul Lynch to take the GFL club into the 2020s.

Tom, who retired from an impressive local career after helping Bannockburn to a drought-breaking GDFL premiership in September, has been named senior coach.

Lynch, who had a mentoring role with the Lions in 2019, will be head of coaching.

Tom fills the role vacated by Guy Morphet’s move to Geelong’s VFL program.

He says it was a “no-brainer” to return home to Memorial Park for the first time since 2015.

“As soon as I got contacted with the opportunity to do this under the set-up they’re doing, it suits me down to the ground,” Tom said.,

“I’ve got a young family, I’ve got a pretty busy job, and it’s that one (training) session where you think “I can’t get here because of work”, and to have that tiny bit of flexibility, it means a whole lot mentally.

“It takes a bit of pressure off when you’ve got blokes like ‘Lynchy’ to rely on.

“To get this opportunity to coach at this level, with the group they’ve got, a no-brainer.”

With the appointment rubber-stamped last week, Tom has already got down to work.

“I had a quiet weekend at home, so I watched three or four games,” he said.

“And I got the player list. My most important thing is getting to know the group. I know a third of them, and a quarter of them are some of my best mates.

“But, there are a lot where I know their names, but I don’t know anything about them.”

GFL: SUPERSAINTS STRENGTHENED

Former Geelong forward Lynch, who led by Lara (2002) and Colac (2014) to GFL senior premierships, was most recently coach of Ocean Grove for two years.

“I just thought it was a good opportunity,” Lynch said. “Last year I had a little bit of involvement back in the GFL with Leopold, and I really enjoyed it.

“The closing factor (in taking the role) is knowing they’ve been getting 52 to training without a coach, which suggests the playing group is really keen, and I want to be involved in a group that’s really keen for success.

“To see those numbers clinched the deal.”

Lynch says the director of coaching role suits his current life situation.

“Coaching for eight years, you lose that connection with your family a little bit,” he said.

“I still want to be involved with my young bloke’s football, and my littlest is just starting Auskick. I don’t want to pull myself totally away from that again.

“You see now at GFL level that this joint coaching set-up is the way because it’s no secret GFL footy’s become very, very professional.

“To be a one-out coach is really hard job to do; you’ve got to have a really good support structure around you.

“This allows me the flexibility that I don’t have to be at training all the time; I will still get to 95 per cent of them, but I don’t have the gun to my head to be here.”

Jeremy Larcombe remains as an assistant coach. He’ll be joined on the coaching panel by captain Sam Hughes.

Twitter: @tom_king79