K rock Football

Smith steps down at Centrals

Werribee Centrals coach Nick Smith speaks to his players during the first semi-final win over Inverleigh. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

OUTGOING Werribee Centrals co-coach Nick Smith says he’s proud of how he’s helped turn around the fortunes of the GDFL club.

Smith announced in a video to his playing group on Tuesday night he wouldn’t be continuing in the role in 2022, with Rhyce Prismall to go it alone next year.

A three-time premiership player with the club, Smith returned to Galvin Park ahead of the 2018 season and took Centrals to 10 wins and a draw after winning just five games the previous year.

In 2019, the Centurions played finals for the first time in six years, losing to eventual premier Bannockburn in the preliminary final.

After COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 season, Centrals were again in contention this year.

They finished the home-and-away season in fourth spot with a 9-3 win-loss record before COVID again intervened.

“As I said at the time (I was appointed), we were worse than bad; we irrelevant, and that needed to change,” Smith said in a video message.

“Two years later, we fell one game short of playing off for a premiership, and I’m proud of that.

“I’m proud that other teams didn’t want to play us and respected us, and we were no longer irrelevant.

“The whole league stood up and took notice of us, and I love that.”

However, Smith says the impact of COVID-19 on the last two seasons “has sucked the life out of coaching for me”.

“Two pre-seasons, 12 games, with no result at the end of both those years, has left me frustrated, exhausted and low on energy,” he said.

“(They’re) not characteristics you would want in a coach, and a sign for me that my time as a senior coach is up.

“Managing all that COVID has thrown up to us as a club and a playing group has been a draining and infuriating responsibility to bear at times and was a major contributor to my decision to not go on.

“I’m just cooked.”

Smith may not be lost to Centrals, revealing talks around a role at Galvin Park.

“I have spoken to the club about taking on some sort of footy management position next year, but we’ll work that through when the dust settles on this year,” he said.

“So, it’s not goodbye; hopefully, you’ll still see me around in some capacity next year.”

Smith also used the video to confirm Brad Carlton as the club’s senior best-and-fairest, with Tyler Crennan and Patrick Daley finishing as joint runners-up.

Twitter: @tom_king79