Michael Saker will lead Rupertswood into a new era in the Riddell District Netball League.
Saker was last week appointed Sharks head netball coach which includes coaching the A and B-grade sides.
Saker replaces inaugural netball coach Di McCormack, after the club decided to head in a different direction after seven years.
Saker said he didn’t plan on coaching next year, after three years at the helm at Bacchus Marsh but after speaking to Rupertswood, it was a good fit for him.
“Things just sounded pretty good,” he said.
“Speaking to [president] Brad [Pietromonaco] it’s a big family club and having kids that’s a good fit for me.
“They understand where I was coming from with the level of commitment.
“What they want with a coach is someone to improve the culture and improve the connection between football and netball.
“It’s a similar role to what I took on at Bacchus Marsh.”
Saker said he stepped away from coaching Bacchus Marsh, as he wasn’t sure if he could take them any further, having taken them from bottom to two straight finals series.
Previously he has played for Victoria and Australia, and has coached Australian indoor teams.
Saker said he didn’t know a lot about Rupertswood and the playing group, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The Sharks this year claimed three premierships, including their first A-grade flag.
“Full credit to the former coach, they won a truckload of flags,” he said. “I don’t know the background, but I’m looking at a different approach.
“It’s interesting timing and they had a good base and not coming from the bottom of the ladder, hardly winning games.
“It’s a little bit exciting. Everything will depend on who stays and goes.”
Saker will be assisted by his partner, Kaila Ingham, who will be a playing assistant coach.
Ingham, who played in the Ballarat Netball League interleague team this year, will play in the A-grade side.
Saker said they would have trials in early December.
It’s then he’ll get a clear indication of who is sticking around the club, with many players expected to follow McCormack to her new club.
He said he would look at who they had before deciding whether to look at bringing players in.
“I’ve got an open mind, I know no one and everyone is on the same level.
“If they train hard they will earn a spot where they should play.
“I’m not looking to recruit a full A-grade team, I want to see what I have got first.
“There’s no pressure on me to keep winning premierships.
We want to get the right people there and keep Rupertswood people there.”
Sharks president Brad Pietromonaco said Saker had interviewed really well and brought into what they were trying to do.
“He comes highly recommended,” he said. “It’s a new beginning and new culture.
He’s a high calibre coach and he’ll hopefully be around for a few years.”
Pietromonaco said indications were that they wouldn’t lose as many players as some people had predicted they would.