Andrew Pizaro may have never previously played at Rupertswood Cricket Club, but he won’t be a stranger to many of the players in his new role as captain-coach of the club.
Pizaro, who was announced as the club’s captain-coach last week, is a Sunbury local and he lives just down the road from Rupertswood.
As PE teacher, he has spent most of his career working in Sunbury. Many of his new teammates have been pupils.
“Things have gone a full circle coming back to play in the GDCA,” he said.
“A few things fell into place which made this job right. I’d spoken to them before about coaching.
“My son wanted to start playing cricket and we live down the road. I’m now working in Melton, so travel would have been a challenge if I stayed at Kilmore.”
Since playing in the GDCA, Pizaro spent more than a decade playing Premier Cricket, before moving to the Victorian Turf Cricket Association.
He spent time at Greenvale Kangaroos and St Albans in captain-coach roles.
Last season he was captain-coach of Kilmore.
Pizaro said the opportunity to help Rupertswood become a corner stone in the McIntyre Cup was what enticed him to the role. Rupo finished bottom in the McIntyre Cup competition, but avoided relegation when the GDCA decided to increase each grade from eight to 10 teams.
“I wouldn’t have taken on the role if that wasn’t the situation,” he said of the opportunity to develop the team.
“My learning experiences are if a team’s had success at local level it can be hard to step in and re-educate players,” he said.
“Some players say if it’s not broke don’t fix it.”
“I’ll bring in some ideas and a few strategies. It’s an exciting about the opportunity.”
Pizaro will be assisted by Bert Van Den Heuvel, a former captain-coach at Rupertswood. Pizaro said it was an easy decision to bring in Van Den Heuvel.
“We’re great mates,” he said.
“Bert helped me get on at St Albans and he came on board too. We’ve worked together a lot and Bert is a fantastic coach in his own right.
“He has had a lot of success at Rupertswood and I know they wanted to have him back involved.
“As soon as I came on board, the first thing I spoke to the club about was bringing Bert on board. He was really keen.”
Pizaro said they had started to talk to people about joining the club.