Cootamundra co-coach Luke Berkrey will go it alone in 2016.
After stepping up to the coaching role alongside Aaron Byrne this season, Berkrey has been announced as the sole coach for next year.
The prop is an inspirational leader for his team on the cusp of the Group Nine finals but faces an upwards challenge with four rounds left.
President Wayne Berkrey was thrilled to have locked in their leader for so early.
“We are very happy for Luke to be doing it and he’s pretty chuffed about it,” Berkrey said.
“We are hoping we can sign up all of this year’s players, which have all indicated they will and keep the team pretty much the same for next year.”
Although the coach was been locked in, there is talk Byrne is looking to step out for first grade.
The hooker played his 100th first grade game for the Bulldogs earlier this season and is interested in coaching reserve grade next year.
Berkrey is hopeful he has a change of heart.
"It's been a long season for Byrnesy, especially with the rep footy with the Riverina team,” Berkrey said.
"It’s a lot of travel and a lot of hard games and he’s feeling a bit sore at the moment but I’m pretty sure once he has a good off-season he’ll be freshened up and ready to go next year.”
The Bulldogs’ hopes are in the balance this season after a four-point loss to Young on Saturday.
Two weeks ago, Cootamundra moved into third before successive narrow losses to Albury and the Cherrypickers have seen them drop out of the top five.
On the logjammed Group Nine ladder, the Bulldogs have slipped to seventh, but are only one point behind fourth placed Southcity, Young and Albury.
They face a big task against ladder leaders Gundagai on Sunday.
Southcity have also secured Nick Skinner as their coach for next season.
Replacing the club’s most successful coach, Daniel Fitzhenry, Skinner was pleased with the faith shown in him by his junior club.
“I’m pretty excited,” Skinner said.
“I’ve enjoyed it this year and I’m glad the club have given me another go at it next season.”
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