Craig Ballinger will lead Sunbury on the field as the club makes the move to the Victorian Turf Cricket Association.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, who returned to the Roar last season, was announced as coach last week.

Ballinger said he had been thinking about coaching for a little while and decided the timing was right.

Ballinger will be in his third season at Sunbury. He has also spent time at Ashfield and Riddell.

“I worked with [coach] Brad [Hunter] last year and I had knowledge of his intentions not to coach on,” Ballinger said.

“The club sought out what my intentions might have been and I put in an application.

“We both did our due diligence. Being in the later stages of my career, the time was right.”

Ballinger, who will continue to play, said having been part of the Sunbury line-up last year, he has full knowledge of the direction the club wants to take.

He said they didn’t have to start from scratch again, which may have happened with a new coach.

“I want to keep up the good work that he [Brad] did,” he said.

“We’re building a culture and developing the young talent. We want to keep bringing through the kids, it’s one thing Brad emphasised.

“We want the young guys to transition into senior cricket.”

As revealed by Star Weekly, the Roar is moving its top two teams from the Gisborne and District Cricket Association to the VTCA from next season.

The move, which was announced earlier this month, has already had a big reaction.

Ballinger said he had already had people contact him to discuss coming across to the club.

“There’s a lot of excitement, which cricket has been lacking the last few years,” he said.

“A lot of adults are ecstatic to play on turf. Some have never played on turf.

“It’s really good for Sunbury and the broader Sunbury community itself, to have somewhere to play on turf.”

Roar president Brendan Doyle said Ballinger was a good appointment and understood the direction the club was going.

“He’s not only a talented cricketer, but he is a teacher of the game.

“He’s proactive in teaching techniques and he knows how to handle the pressure of senior cricket.”

Doyle said the club was hoping to announce it’s first women’s coach in the coming weeks.