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   Jul 05

Grass Boots: Alexandra coach Sam Kidd helps to make call on his own position

Sam Kidd is pondering his future as coach of the Alexandra Rebels, where he is also secretary. Photo: SuppliedFollow the Age Sport on Twitter
Nanjing Night Net

Last weekend, Alexandra football club president Ray Steyger and secretary Sam Kidd found themselves chatting about the Rebels’ senior coaching position.

The discussion centred around whether to throw the position open for next season and call for applications or stick with the bloke currently in charge. There’s nothing revolutionary about a club planning ahead. Such is the demand for good coaches, clubs all over Victoria are already racing to lock in their preferred options for 2016.

The quirk in this particular case is that Kidd is both Alexandra’s secretary and senior coach, so he is part of the group making a call on his own position.

“As an executive member, I think it’s the right thing for the club to advertise and see who’s around,” Kidd said during the week. “But it does mean I’ll have to reapply.”

To be fair to Kidd and his footy club, such a conflict was never meant to arise. When Kidd put his hand up to be secretary at last year’s annual general meeting, he and his fellow committee members thought the coaching position was sorted.

In August, Lee Rowe, who coached the team in 2013 and 2014, had committed to stay for a third season. In November, however, Rowe received an offer of a development coaching role at VFL club Port Melbourne.

For someone keen on climbing the coaching ladder, it was an opportunity to good to turn down, and Rowe departed with the rueful blessing of Alexandra’s honchos.

Steyger then asked Kidd if he was interested in taking on the position. “It was getting late in the year to be looking for coaches,” Kidd recalled. “I had been captain for seven or eight years, and coaching was something I had thought about doing down the track.

“I was going to Perth for a wedding with my wife. I had a good think about it, then put in an application for the job when I got home.”

As the club secretary, Kidd himself would usually have been the person to receive any such applications. But in this case he had to hand his letter straight to Steyger.

“It was a funny situation, but footy clubs are ever-changing,” Kidd said. “You’ve just got to roll with it. I’ve lived in Alexandra all my life, and I just love the footy club. I’ll put my hand up whenever I think I can help out.”

A 270-game veteran and club favourite son, Kidd’s leadership skills were already well known, given his long stint as captain. Nevertheless, the committee, minus the secretary, put him through a formal interview before deciding he was the right person for the job. “They didn’t just given me the job because I was the only one left,” Kidd said.

Although it was clear that being senior coach and secretary would throw up a few conflicts, the rest of the committee members were happy for him to fill both roles.

And since the footy season began, Kidd, whose wife Emma is the A-Grade netball coach, has done his best to balance his two jobs at the club. On top of all the duties that come with being a senior coach (a playing-coach at that), the 33-year-old handles most of the usual secretarial work during the week.

But he is able to hand the secretary’s folder over to Steyger and a few other helpers on game-days. “We’re very fortunate that our president has been in the role for 18 years,” Kidd said. “So he’s pretty well across most things. We’re very lucky at Alex. We’ve got a great volunteer base who like to get things done. It’s only a small community, so we’ve got to stick together.”

On the field, it has been a tough season for Alexandra, who play in the second division of the Yarra Valley Mountain District league. The Rebels’ senior side went into Saturday’s local derby against Thornton-Eildon without a win to its name.

The team’s best results were a draw against Yarra Junction in round eight and a 14-point loss to Yea last weekend. Such a win-loss record is never great for a coach.

But given Kidd was part of the group that decided to give plenty of local kids a chance this year rather than break the bank on imports, he knows his coaching is not being judged by the scoreboard.

Still, there are interesting times ahead as the executive members other than Kidd decide whether to dangle a hook in the water by advertising for a senior coach.

“I’ll have no problem with whatever decision the executive makes in terms of the process,” Kidd said. “Either they’ll give me a job for another year or I’ll be applying to get another go at it.”

ALEXANDRA FNC

* The town of Alexandra is 160km north-east of Melbourne and has a population of 2700.

* Sam Kidd was co-captain of Alexandra’s most recent senior premiership in 2008. He was second-best on ground in the grand final against Thornton-Eildon.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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