LEETON-Whitton premiership coach Jade Hodge has re-signed for a third season at the Crows.
It was a while coming, but the Crows and Hodge sat down after the premiership celebrations died down and agreed on a deal for 2018.
Hodge said it was always going to happen.
“We were waiting until the end of the year,” Hodge said.
“We left it a little bit late but I wanted to focus on finals and not have to worry about talking about that.”
In a boost for the Crows, Bryce O’Garey and Daniel Muir have also agreed to new deals and will share assistant coach duties next season.
Hodge wanted to ensure he had the right people in key positions.
“It was about making sure I had the right support behind me and that they were staying on,” he said.
The premiership celebrations lasted about a week in Leeton, concluding with the club’s presentation night, where Toby Conroy edged out Bryce O’Garey to win a second straight best and fairest.
Hodge said he has already moved into preparation mode for next season.
“I’ve already started thinking about it and will have some initial player meetings in the next few weeks,” he said.
“We’ll start pre-season at the end of November and get back into it.”
The Crows lose Conroy, Neil Irwin and Ben Curley to retirement.
Hodge will assess the club’s list in coming weeks before looking at what recruiting the Crows will do.
“I’d like to think we’ve got good juniors to cover,” he said.
“We may need to look for a few more mature players so we don’t go too young.
“If you have a look at the back six and take Neil (Irwin) out of it, then Tank (Tom Meline) was the oldest player down there at 22.
“We’ve got a fantastic group of young blokes coming through and we’ll try to back ourselves in that way.”
Hodge is finally coming to terms with the enormity of breaking a 39-year premiership drought.
“It’s only just starting to sink in now,” he said.
“It’s a little bit surreal. The town is still buzzing about it.”
Hodge, 30, signed for a further one-year.
In other news out of the presentation night, Brad Boots was awarded life membership, while David Meline was named Clubperson of the Year.