Torin Baker has put pen to paper on a contract that will see him return as coach of the Western Jets.
Baker’s 2018 season will be his sixth in charge of the TAC Cup club.
“I was really committed to doing it again,” Baker said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Baker took on the head coaching position at the Jets in late 2012.
He was a relatively untried coach, only 33 and still playing good football with Spotswood in the Western Region Football League. Baker was not an outsider at the Jets, having worked with the club as a development coach and assistant for the four seasons prior.
But even with his connection to the club, Baker was considered to be a developing coach.
“I was a pretty young coach going into it,” he said. “I hadn’t had a lot of coaching experience and I just finished playing and went straight into the coaching role. I wanted to do a good apprenticeship.”
For the first three seasons, Baker coached the Jets part-time.
The Jets decided to make it a full-time position three seasons ago and Baker has thrived.
“Sometimes you go into your coaching thinking it’s all about what happens on the ground,” he said. “But there’s just so much that occurs around a football club and a team and I feel I’ve really got a broad-based knowledge now.
“I’m really lucky that the coaching group I’ve got with me now are in their third year, with one of our coaches, Tom Perrett, in his fourth year … that’s been great for me personally and also good for the group as well.
“When they’ve been with you for a little while, things just flow.”
One aspect that is constantly changing is the playing personnel. Players have a short life span in the elite under-18 competition.
Yet the Jets, who started their pre-season last week, will have a familiar look to them next season, with a number of 17-year-olds staying on board.
“We’re pretty excited with this group,” Baker said. “Quite a few of the 17-year-olds finished high up in our best and fairest, so we think they’ll be strong contributors again.
“We’d like to think we’ve got some players in draft calculations [next year].”