New CSU coach Daniel Athanitis says he’s excited by the prospect of rebuilding the Bushpigs.
Athanitis has signed on for two years, after a three-year stint at Rand-Walbundrie Tigers, including a Hume League grand final appearance in 2014.
The 28-year old isn’t daunted by the prospect of taking over at a club with just one win this year.
“It’s a challenge that you can take on, or not take on and take the easy option somewhere,” Athanitis said.
“If we can make this rebuild work and get a bit of success, I think that makes you as a coach.
“I get more pleasure out of seeing things improve.”
Athanitis takes over from Ash Weldon who injected some structure into the Bushpigs’ game and took them to their first victory in nearly two years.
The new coach is focussed on more than results.
“Improvement is the big word – if we can find an extra five or six goals and save ourselves four or five goals, then we’ll be on the right track.
“We don’t want the blow-outs and we want to be in games for longer.
“We don’t want to cap anything but if you can win five or six games, it’s something to build on.”
Jack Egan, who enjoyed a top-10 finish in the Clear Medal count, will continue as assistant coach while key players including Tom Jeffery, Tom Falvey, Luke Kissane, Tennyson Vance and Dylan McPhail have recommitted to the club.
A forward who also plays in the midfield, Athanitis is hoping to strengthen CSU’s list with a couple of key position players.
“I’ve only just signed up but we’re talking to a few and would like someone who can kick a few goals… they didn’t have that focal point so if we can land a full-forward we can build on that,” he said.
Athanitis has seen only one Farrer League game – last week’s grand final.
He said he will concentrate on skills in the pre-season and wants the Bushpigs to play a game that can exploit their home ground.
“It’s quite a large ground so we’ll want to move the ball quick and use the space,” he said.
“That’ll probably suit a lot of the young blokes that you get coming out of uni.”
CSU president Tristan Robinson said Athanitis had a professional approach.
“We spoke to a fair few people and he was a standout,” Robinson said.
“He’s a really good communicator and he’s going to bring some ideas out of the Hume League.”
The Bushpigs, who won three netball flags and finished runners-up in A-grade, capped a positive week by signing a new deal with major sponsor Romano’s Hotel for another three years.
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