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O’Regan ready for Tiger challenge

Ben O’Regan has been appointed coach of Grovedale’s inaugural senior women’s team. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

INAUGURAL Grovedale women’s coach Ben O’Regan is excited by the chance to play a role in developing future VFL and AFL stars.

O’Regan, who played junior football at St Mary’s and Geelong College before moving away from the region for work, was unveiled by the Tigers last week.

“There’s a real strong indication there’ll be a huge participation uptake with women’s football here in Geelong,” he said.

“Regardless of their skill level – even if they’re coming in at that foundation level – there’s a real chance that some of these senior women and these under-18s will discover they are really good footballers and they, more than ever, have a real rapid-shot at an elite pathway to a sport.

“To me, that’s really exciting.”

O’Regan has most recently been involved in football in Bendigo, including with Heathcote league club North Bendigo, where he spent time as an assistant coach and football manager.

“I call it doing my apprenticeship over that three-year period,” he said.

“Then we moved back here for family and work, and the draw of football’s too strong.

“So this role came up, and, to me, this is probably one of the most exciting times in football, particularly for AFL Barwon and the GFL getting on the ground level for female football.”

Grovedale fielded a team in the inaugural under-19 competition in 2017 and O’Regan says those graduating from juniors will form the basis of the Tigers’ senior squad.

O’Regan will also be an interested spectator at AFL Barwon’s Talent ID day at Deakin University on November 18.

“From talking to the club in the last week-and-a-bit, that’s the indication,” he said.

“My thought process and the club’s – and I’m assuming a lot of the other clubs – is to look heavily at the Open Day coming up.

“And I’m assuming there’ll be a 50-50 or 60-40 split of girls that are coming up from under-18s and ones that have realised that maybe netball’s not for me, maybe volleyball’s not for me, basketball, or whatever it might be.”

“It seems to be really big down here with junior girls. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards with senior women.”

O’Regan is also embracing the challenge of coaching a team that will vary widely when it comes to skills and game sense.

“You’re not stepping into a role where they all know their role, so to speak,” he said. “You’ll have some that will and some that you’re going to be teaching the basics to.

“That’s probably what really drew me to it, because it is probably the most unique challenge in coaching that I’ve ever had.

“The focus and attention of the Geelong community and media and club officials and other clubs will be on this new women’s league and its foundation stages.”

Twitter: @tom_king79