Matt Hard to coach Farrer League club East Wagga-Kooringal in 2018

NEW START: East Wagga-Kooringal president Steve Absolum welcomes new coach Matt Hard to Gumly Oval on Monday. Picture: Les Smith
NEW START: East Wagga-Kooringal president Steve Absolum welcomes new coach Matt Hard to Gumly Oval on Monday. Picture: Les Smith

East Wagga-Kooringal have landed a coaching coup by luring Matt Hard to Gumly Oval.

The Hawks identified Hard as the man to replace Gavin McMahon and were successful over a number of rival clubs in securing his services for next year.

Hard will join East Wagga-Kooringal after 10 seasons, on and off, as coach of Coolamon following he and the club’s mutual decision to part ways at the end of 2017. 

Hard said the Hawks were “the right fit”.

New East Wagga-Kooringal coach Matt Hard

New East Wagga-Kooringal coach Matt Hard

“It’s a good fit for me with my work, life balance.Two nights a week, playing in the Farrer League in a Saturday competition, I just felt it’s a really good fit for me,” Hard said.

“I’m definitely excited by the challenge. Gav (McMahon) has done a great job to really turn the club around, getting it to a few grand finals, winning a premiership and getting it close there again. 

“The club’s obviously got a strong desire to be successful and I’m hoping I can help them continue in that vein.”

Hard weighed up his coaching future at the end of Coolamon’s season, when they bowed out in an elimination final loss to Griffith.

He found he still has a strong desire to coach.

“I did. I’ve been doing it for a long time and felt the desire was still there. They say a change is as good as a holiday and coming out here is a little bit foreign to me and probably reinvigorated things I guess,” Hard said.

“After the season finished at Coolamon, we always knew that next year wasn’t on, so it was whether I wanted to continue or not, or to have a rest. That was the big one.

“I had to have a think about what I wanted to do and after sitting around and not having much to do, I found myself getting bored pretty quickly so...at the end of the day I made a decision on what was a good fit for me.”

Hard is no stranger to the Farrer League, having guided Northern Jets to a premiership in 2007 during his two-years at the club.

EWK president Steve Absolum was thrilled to land their man.

“For the club going forward, Gav set a good foundation for where we are and Matt’s up there in the best coaches in the league with Gav and Shane Lenon so that’s the sort of coach we need moving forward,” Absolum said.

“With our playing group and the people around the club, we can’t be seen to be going backwards so we needed a good, high-profile coach and we think we’ve got that.

“When we found out he wasn’t going again at Coolamon we went out of our way to target Matt, because he was who we thought we needed as coach.

“If you don’t keep going forward, you go backwards.”

EWK also announced Chris Jackson and Ben Perkins as reserve grade coaches, while Craig Depiazza will coach the club’s under 17s again.