K rock Football

Ricky jumps at VFL role

Ricky O’Toole during his stint as East Geelong coach. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Darren Phillips)

RICKY O’Toole has added to the distinctively Geelong flavour of the coaching staff at Port Melbourne after taking a development role with the VFL club.

The local football great said it “was pretty hard to say no” to an offer from fellow former East Geelong coach Adam Skrobalak, who has replaced the long-serving Gary Ayres at the Borough.

“He touched base with me and asked me what I was doing with footy next year, and I said I didn’t have any plans,” O’Toole said.

“I was going to follow my young fella Cruz around at East Geelong, and it went from there.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to work at a powerful club.”

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The only player to win the Mathieson, Whitley and Ash medals across Geelong’s three local competitions, O’Toole has coached Corio, East Geelong and Newcomb, which he guided alongside Matt Bruhn to the 2007 BFL premiership.

Most recently, he was in charge of Colac and District League team Birregurra in 2019.

O’Toole said his position at Port Melbourne would be wide-ranging.

“I’m a development coach, so I’ll probably work with parts of the backs, forwards and mids,” he said.

“And, I’ve got a role on game day as well.”

As well as Skrobalak and O’Toole, the Port Melbourne coaching staff also includes fellow former East Geelong coach Jeremy Power and ex-St Albans and Barwon Heads mentor Ben Patrick.

Brett Connors, who played in the Eagles’ 2011 grand final loss to Bell Post Hill, will be the Borough’s runner.

“I’ve been mates with Skrobba for a long time now, and I get along well with Jez; he’s a quality fella,” O’Toole said.

“Benny’s a fellow Bulldogs supporter, so he’s a smart man. He’s got a good background in coaching, and I played a bit of footy against him when he was at Lara and Barwon Heads.

“He’s a ripping fella, and I’m looking forward to working with him as well.”

Twitter: @tom_king79