LOCKINGTON-BAMAWM United Football Club has a return to the glory days on its agenda for 2018.
It’s appointed three-time premiership coach and four-time premiership player Kahl Oliver as head coach for next season.
And he said it is his aim to get the club back to where it was three years ago before the exodus of experienced players.
This year’s coach Peter Gibbs has stepped down from the role, having come to the club at the end of 2015 in the throes of its fall from grace.
Gibbs was handed a young list, coming off its worst season in five years, and in 2016 the side finished at the bottom of the ladder with one win.
It saw improvement in 2017 under Gibbs to record four wins and finish sixth on the ladder, and looked competitive for small patches against top sides.
Its want for a return to the top of the Heathcote and District Football League has taken them to Oliver, who put his hand up for the job.
‘‘After finishing up coaching in 2013 I needed time away from it all,’’ Oliver said.
‘‘I took a couple of years off football, but missed being involved at the club which is why I decided to come back and coach.
‘‘The challenge of planning strategies to beat your opposition on a weekly basis and teach young kids is what attracted me to the role.’’
Oliver came to LBU in 2010 as a first-time coach, also playing at the time, and in 2011 steered the club to its first HDFL premiership.
He then made it back-to-back-to-back for the Cats, who were premiers again in 2012 and 2013 with Oliver at the helm — and he stuck around to play in the 2014 premiership side with Adrian Dohnt as coach.
He returned to the club in a playing capacity at the start of the season.
‘‘I know what it’s like to win a premiership and hopefully I can give that feeling to the younger blokes at the club,’’ he said.
‘‘There was a lot of young talent that left the club over four or five years from when I was coaching and I’m hoping to get some of those guys back and rebuild from there.
‘‘The aim is to get the club back to where it was and I understand that will take a lot of hard work and recruiting the right players.
‘‘It’s important to get out there early and see what’s around and we’ve already started that process.’’
Oliver has already managed to get back past premiership captain Nathan O’Brien who while living in Melbourne would help to train any other Melbourne players from the club.
‘‘He captained three out of four premierships and his experience and skill will be a great addition to the club,’’ Oliver said.
‘‘We know how each other operates and he’s a good one to start with.
‘‘The hope is to get as many local players on the training track each week, but it’s a balancing act of finding that good mix between local and Melbourne-based players.
‘‘There’s a lot of talent in our under 17s and those guys will be looking to have a good pre-season and hopefully push up into playing senior footy.’’
President Colin Bacon said the club was confident Oliver would continue his good record with the Cats in getting them back to their premiership heights.
‘‘We’re hoping he’ll be able to build on the list and continue to develop our under 17s who are into the finals this year,’’ he said.
‘‘He has a good record at the club and we’re keen to have him back on board.
‘‘We can’t fault what Gibbs has done in his time with us.
‘‘The whole family has become a massive part of the club and we’re appreciative of everything he and his wife have done for us.
‘‘He came to us when we were well down on the ladder and gave his all, but we had to look at our other options.’’