Craigieburn didn’t have to look far for its new senior coach for next year’s Essendon District Football League season.

The Eagles, who were on the hunt for a new coach after Peter Bugden decided not to go around again, last week announced that Lance Whitnall had been appointed coach.

Whitnall, who played 216 games with Carlton, including captaining the club, has been at the Eagles as their football manager this year.

Eagles president John Perrone said Whitnall had fitted in really well at the club and was the right name for the job.

“He’s done a great job with the juniors and he’s been fairly involved in building the list for this year and beyond.

“We were more than happy to give him the role.”

While Whitnall was in a footy manager role this year, he’s not short on coaching experience.

He previously coached fellow EDFL side Glenroy before being an assistant coach at the Calder Cannons.

Perrone said he had spoken to Whitnall about continuing at the club in some capacity even before Bugden made the decision to stand down.

He said when the coaching role become available it was a perfect fit.

Having been up to Premier division last season, before dropping back to division 1, Perrone said they were putting things in place to have the club a permanent side back in the top division.

“We want to be powerhouse,” he said.

“We’ve got new facilities starting in the next few months and we have strong culture.

“We’ve still got a long way to go, but we hope to be competitive in premier division in the next couple of years.”

Perrone was full of praise for the outgoing Bugden, who is the longest servicing senior coach at the club.

He said Bugden was a real professional. In his five years has led the side to two grand finals, including a premiership.

The Eagles this weekend face Tullamarine for a spot in this year’s division 1 grand final.

“He has a lot experience and his knowledge is second to none,” Perrone said.

“A lot of kids have learnt a lot and he gave them an opportunity.

“He deserves to leave on a high.”