New Altona Gators coach Lanard Copeland wasn’t planning on taking on a coaching role in next year’s Big V competition.
Returning to Melbourne after several years in Sydney where he was assistant coach to Andrew Gaze at the Sydney Kings, Copeland was looking to take a season off.
But his friend and Gators youth league coach Sedale Threatt Jnr got in touch.
“Sedale said we can use you out here,” Copeland said.
“I said maybe next season, but he kept hounding me to come out.
“Randy Shanklin is in charge out there, and I got a call from him. I came out to visit and I decided to help out a little bit.
“They are doing some good things out there, I’m excited.”
Copeland will take on the head coaching role of the men’s side, replacing Des Radoslovic.
Copeland isn’t new to the Big V competition, he coached the Hume City Broncos and Sunbury Jets before heading to Sydney.
He said he loved his time with the Kings and was proud of what he achieved alongside his great mate Gaze.
Now Copeland is in for a challenge at the Gators as he tries to get them to climb up the ladder.
The Altona Gators finished second bottom with six wins this year.
They will have a very different line-up from last season.
Jordan Lino and Joseph Mausar are both returning and Samson Rocker is coming up from the youth league side.
Copeland was the roster wasn’t finalised but he is excited but the signings so far.
“I’ve picked up a couple of guys that I’ve coached before,” he said.
“The level of experience we’ve brought in will help take us further than we went last season.
“There’s a lot of new players that seem enthusiastic to get the men’s program turned around.”
Jacob Formosa, who has represented Malta, headlines the signings for the Gators as he returns to his home club.
He played under Copeland at the Sunbury Jets.
“He started at Altona and his father coaches alongside Sedale in the youth league,” Copeland said.
“He was at Werribee last year and has played overseas and then come back. “We’ve got a couple of other guys, Darcy Daniels, who is Andrew Gaze’s nephew and is an exciting wingman
“Kristian Zjak is another who is coming from Werribee. All of those guys have played at Werribee and will bring that experience back to the side.”
Copeland said as well as getting some good results, he wanted to bring some fun to the side. “We want to let the guys have fun in every game,” he said.
“I’ll leave the yelling to training and I want them to try and take over some of the running on game day.”
Copeland has also got involved in other ways at the association.
He is helping Shanklin run a morning domestic academy and they are hosting a holiday clinic in January