Henwood Park have unveiled premiership-winning captain-coach Matt Menser as the man to lead them back to the Pascoe Cup summit
Formerly a thorn in the Hawks’ side, Menser has become part of the furniture at Henwood Park after making the move from Lake Albert in 2016 and steering the club to its historic 2017 title.
The versatile forward then took a back seat this season with Ryan McKenzie taking over as coach but continued to play and made his presence felt in the closing months of competition and particularly the Hawks’ finals charge.
A semi final defeat to Young Lions scuttled hopes of a title defence but Henwood Park president Ryan Smith believes Menser’s appointment will be the boost needed to go two wins further and take home another trophy.
“Matt’s a very good coach and a premiership winner, so he knows how to win games,” Smith said.
“He had considered coaching again this year but the biggest thing for him was just not having the time.”
“Now, he’s got that time to commit and and he’s ready to go.
“He’s played a high level in Canberra, he’ll have really good support in the form of Kris Wheeler and he’s well respected at the club too.”
Smith was also pleased to confirm the club had retained the playing services of McKenzie, who will step down after just one season as coach, and wished departing striker Jake Ploenges well.
“Ryan’s going to stay on with us, which is exciting news because he’s a quality player too.”
“I think we’ll be retaining everyone but Jakey and we do wish him well. He’s been with us for a fair while but he doesn’t owe the club anything and he’s welcome to explore his options.
“We’re confident enough in the players we’ve got at the moment to be able to cover him at striker and blokes like Ryan (McKenzie) and Ned Evans could step up into that forward role.
“Ryan had a pretty good year up front and he’s definitely someone who could make it his own next year.”
Gardiner Shield player of the year Ali Mozafari and Quinton Chamberlain are others whom could push for Ploenges’ vacant spot at striker.
Henwood Park are yet to announce their reserve grade coaching staff.