CAMPERDOWN has promoted its 2019 leaders from within, announcing star defender Jack Williams and assistant coach Neville Swayn as co-coaches.
The club finalised its appointment of the pair during a meeting on Monday night after spending the past six weeks searching for a new mentor after outgoing mentor Phil Carse stood down.
President Kevin Russell said the club was thrilled to give two locals the opportunity to lead the club next season.
“Obviously it was an exhaustive task after Phil said he was leaving,” he said.
“We searched far and wide but like anything, sometimes the best people are right under your noses.
“We spoke to a lot of people, but we thought we would give Jack and Nev a go.”
Russell believes the club will have the best of both worlds with joint coaches, with Williams leading the way on field, while Swayn will control things from the bench.
“It’s something that doesn’t happen very often,” he said.
“It’s happened before at other clubs with success and it hasn’t worked for others.
“But we think it can work well for us with Jack on field and with Swayny’s many years of experience on the match committee and as chairman of selectors.”
For Williams, it will be his first foray into senior coaching; revealing his experience at VFL level should hold him in good stead.
He said he was excited to take the list further on its journey after Carse guided the club to its first grand final appearance in 12 years.
“I just think it’s a good opportunity for me going forward and for the club going forward with the list we have got,” he said.
“I’ve been in the VFL system for three years now and I think I’ve got plenty to offer.
“I’ve sort of sat back a bit when other blokes have been in the role but I think I can help players with their development as well as my own.”
Williams, a two time club best and fairest winner, said he thinks he will be more than capable of combining the added pressure of coaching with playing.
“I’d like to say I’d take it in my stride,” he said.
“I like to think I lead by example on the field anyway, so I don’t think it will hinder my playing ability.
“There’s no added pressure on game day, it’s just about getting everyone on the same wavelength and making sure everyone is happy.”
For Swayn, it’s been a long time since he took control of a senior side, having coached Lismore Derrinallum in 1999.
Since returning to Camperdown in 2001, he has coached the club’s under 18s and been a regular on the match committee under former leaders Torin Baker, Russell Whiteford, Bernard Moloney, Dan Casey and Carse.
He said he is looking forward to the opportunity and seeing the group build on the ownership of its direction.
“It’s actually 20 years since I have done a senior job but I’m bloody excited,” he said.
“Knowing the group is an advantage for a start, but I’m excited with the group and the ownership they have got.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Jack and the vibe is good. It’s really positive.”
Swayn said while he knows it will be a “big job” and a “big challenge”, coaching the club he has been associated with for a long time is a “dream come true”.
“It’s probably something that most people want to do, coach the club you have grown up at,” he said.
“When I have coached, I have always wanted to do it at my home club.
“To get that opportunity is just something you dream about, but now it’s come about it’s unbelievable.”
Williams and Swayn will share the load on match day, while their roles will differ in the weeks between games.
Swayn will take control of the group in Camperdown, while Williams will take trainings for the Melbourne and Geelong based players.
Williams said both groups will train under the one program, which will keep everyone on the same page ahead of each match.
“It’s a good opportunity for the Melbourne boys to train in one spot, so we’ll have someone organising things and I’ll be another voice on Saturday,” he said.
Camperdown starts pre-season training on November 30.