MacFarlane switches leagues

Australian Rules

By Josh Hanrahan*

In desperate need of on-field leadership, the Moe Football Club is looking for a new playing coach to cover the loss of Jason MacFarlane.

After a disappointing two seasons as coach of the Lions, MacFarlane will switch from the Gippsland League to Mid Gippsland and take charge at Trafalgar Football Club next year.

MacFarlane took over the reins as Lions head coach in 2012 and has seen the club struggle to consecutive wooden spoons.

MacFarlane said the decision was a mutual one between club and coach, and both believed it was best for the future of the playing group.

“We spoke about it halfway through the year as a club, I suggested it and the club agreed that if the players were going to go any further they needed a playing coach,” MacFarlane said.

“A lot of boys stand up for you when you’re playing.

“If you have a club that has a leader on the field, they tend to follow in behind him.”

With three premierships in the past five years, the move to a successful club with an established list is one MacFarlane is looking forward to.

“Hopefully I can bring my experience of being at a higher level and hopefully improve and develop the kids,” MacFarlane said.

“I’d be hoping to go a little bit further with them, they’ve played in the finals so we’d be targeting a top three finish and then in finals you go from there.”

Following a stellar junior career that saw him win the TAC Cup coaches player of the year with Gippsland Power in 1994, MacFarlane has great experience inside many of Gippsland’s leagues as both player and coach.

“I’ve played in the Ovens and Murray and I think it (Gippsland football) is a bit behind that,” Mac Farlane said.

“I look at the Mid Gippsland and North Gippsland leagues and see a lot of players who should be playing in the superior Gippsland League.”

MacFarlane believes a solution would be having the best players playing in Gippsland League and having teams from the other leagues feeding into it, in a similar fashion to what currently happens with the Victorian Football League and Australian Football League.

“I reckon if we’re going to make Gippsland football really good we have to do that and make it a bit like the AFL have it now, because it isn’t quite as strong as the Geelong and Ballarat and Ovens and Murray leagues,” MacFarlane said.

* Josh Hanrahan is a Monash University journalism student