James Smart’s future with Gundagai is clouded as the dual Weissel Medal winner weighs up what lies ahead.
Smart will step down from the Tigers coaching role at the end of the season and is yet to commit to the club for 2019.
The 28-year-old has had a horror run with injuries this year and wants to wait for the season to play out before making a decision.
“I’m not really interested in worrying about 2019 at the moment in terms of football,” Smart said.
“I’ll make the decision on where I will be living and working wise and football decisions will come after that.
“For the last 10 years I’ve made a lot of decisions based on football and I think it’s time to let that take a back seat and focus on things that are more important.”
However he has decided to hand over the coaching responsibilities.
Smart is coming towards the end of his second three-year stint as the Tigers leader.
He was captain-coach from 2011 to 2013 before moving to Wollongong and returned to coach the Tigers after their breakthrough premiership success in 2015.
Regardless of what lies ahead, he’s happy to take a back seat.
“I feel like it is time to step away from the job,” he said.
“It is a very busy job, time consuming, so I'd like to take a step away and let things slow down a little.”
Currently sidelined with a knee injury, Smart has only played in half of Gundagai’s games so far after also missing games due to a broken hand as well as a hamstring complaint.
He’ll miss the clash with Temora on Sunday and the injury toll is part of the reason behind the decision.
“Every year has it challenges but this one particularly is right up there,” Smart said,
“There’s been a lot of injuries, especially for myself personally, which has been difficult.”
Smart has guided Gundagai to four grand finals, was named the competition’s best player last year, as well as in 2013, and would be a massive loss for the Tigers.
Secretary Martin Hay admitted whoever steps into the role will have massive boots to fill.
“He puts his heart and soul into it and has been really, really good,” Hay said.
“You can’t fault his dedication and with a couple of Eric Weissel Medals he’s a fantastic player as well as a fantastic coach.”
Hay said the club would look at both internal and external options.