New Whittlesea coach Blair Harvey is itching to get back into football after a year away from the sport.
One of the Northern Football League’s greatest players, having been captained five premierships at Heidelberg and played in six NFL premierships overall, Harvey was keen to start the next part of his football journey.
With the impressive playing and leadership resume, several clubs would have loved to have his services.
On Monday night, it was Whittlesea that announced that they had secured the signature of Harvey to become their senior coach for next season.
Harvey said he was thrilled to take up the role.
He said taking on a full time senior coaching role was something he always wanted to do.
“I’ve been playing football since I was five years old,” he said.
“It’s always been a massive part of my life.
“I had spoke with Whittlesea a couple of years ago and it didn’t work out at the time.
“The stars have aligned this time and it’s worked out perfectly.”
Harvey said the Eagles young list and the ability to help them grow is what attracted him to the role.
He said he hoped to pass on some of his experience to the playing group.
The Eagles will play in division 2 next season after being relegated at the end of this year.
“They’re a young group of guys that are disappointed to be relegated,” Harvey said.
“We’ll look to build a side that can play in division 1 and stay up there.
“It’ll be the platform for the next few years.”
While the Eagles senior side struggled, their reserves made the grand final.
Harvey highlighted that grand final team had six under-19s, showing they had players coming through.
He said with the players coming through they probably wouldn’t look to recruit too many players.
“We’ll try and retain the players we’ve got and them start recruiting from there.”
Eagles football manager Jamie Russell said Harvey was one person they looked at when looking for a coach to replace Jim Atkins who stood down from the role.
“We are very happy to get his experience,” he said.
“He has a great reputation around the league and you just don’t captain five division 1 premierships.”
“All you need to do is look at his record in the league.”
Russell said there had been plenty of excitement for in and outside the club about the appointment.
He said while there had been a good feeling around the club, he said the appointment was what the club needed after the senior side finished bottom and will be relegated to division 2 next year.
Russell said at this stage they would still look to maintain 90 per cent of this year’s list despite going down a grade next year.