K rock Football

Opportunity knocks for Patrick

St Albans coach Ben Patrick has taken a role with VFL club Port Melbourne. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

OUTGOING St Albans coach Ben Patrick has labelled an offer to join VFL club Port Melbourne as senior assistant coach as “an opportunity too good to knock back”.

Patrick, who joined the Supersaints as co-coach alongside Chris Carlon ahead of the abandoned 2020 season and led the club solo this year, had re-signed for a further two years in August.

“It was a decision I didn’t take lightly,” Patrick said.

“I took a few days to come to terms with whether it was the right thing to do, in terms of my coaching journey, family life, and what we’d started at St Albans.

“But, I’m really comfortable with where the club’s at, in terms of structures we’ve put in place and the appointments we’ve made.”

Patrick, who has also coached locally at Barwon Heads, is no stranger to higher-level roles, having spent time with VFL clubs Werribee and AFL outfits North Melbourne and Essendon.

Skrobalak is well known to Geelong football followers after guiding Torquay and East Geelong to premierships.

Most recently, he has been an assistant coach in St Kilda’s AFL program.

“I had a chat with him (last) Friday, and it all stemmed from there,” Patrick said.

“It’s an opportunity too good to knock back to be able to get back in the system.

“And to be senior assistant coach and coaching the midfield for a proud club with a rich history like Port Melbourne is extremely exciting for me.”

Patrick had been busy strengthening St Albans’ coaching staff before his departure, including his replacement Alex Tortora as midfield coach.

“He’s got an extensive knowledge of football,” Patrick said. “His demeanour probably sticks out the most.

“He’s very calm and calculated. He thinks about the football side of things; he’s got a high footy IQ.

“He’s got great relationship-building ability with the young guys, and that’s something the club is really striving for.

“He’s jumped in after only having a few weeks at the club. But having that short time with Alex, I know he’s a quality person, and I’m sure he’ll give his absolute best.”

Patrick’s Lara premiership teammate and Drysdale great Luke Maher has come on board as ruck coach.

He had also organised Western Bulldogs strength and conditioning coach Des O’Sullivan to oversee the Supersaints program.

“It’s probably a first for community football that a full-time head of strength and conditioning at an AFL club is going to do that,” Patrick said.

“Des will oversee it, and he will have some people underneath him running that program.”

Twitter: @tom_king79