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“I ABSOLUTELY loved coaching this year, I’m really in no hurry to move on from the role but one thing we wanted to do was put a lot of time into our business,” Walker said.
‘‘I’ve been back a few times, I’ve still got a couple of mates there.
‘‘Briggsy (2016 coach Andrew Briggs) has done a great job getting the club back up there, the boys started well this season but injuries are always a concern and that’s something that stopped the performances from continuing through the season,” he said.
“Briggsy has put the club in a really good spot for us to take over and add something.
“I’m really excited to get back and really enjoying playing some country footy.
‘‘Really, that’s the reason we all play, because we love it, and I want to bring that feeling back to the club.”
Walker’s playing prospects have also taken a giant leap forward with his participation in an osteoarthritis drug trial — he played 15 of 18 games (and one final) in Melbourne this season.
It has taken his battered body from a pain level of 10 to two. When he was still playing AFL he was having a 10cm oedema in his knee drained three times a week.
Since starting on the drug Pentosan he has not had his knee drained for a year and the oedema has been shrunk to just 1cm.
Maddox, who has had a year out of football after coaching Moama in 2016, will be helping run the team from the sidelines.
And like Walker he is looking forward to “coming home”.
“I have been out of the game and when I was approached about this role it was an incredibly appealing challenge,” Maddox said.
“I agree we have a seriously strong list, and we will be looking at it in great detail soon, but might try and find one or two specialists to help bolster a couple of spots where we could be stronger,” he said.
“This is a new role for Andrew and me, as joint coaches – and for the club – so it will be good to see how well we can make the most of the opportunity.
“We can’t say enough for the work Briggsy has done and we will be looking to get even further improvement out of the senior playing group with a few extra ideas we will bring with us.”
He said the trio had not got as far as pre-season training yet.
‘‘There are still finals being played and I’d much rather the boys had a bit of time off from footy, get recharged and come back hungry and ready to get stuck into it.’’
But while Walker will be playing, Maddox scoffed at any suggestion he might also pull the boots on.
“I’m in terrible shape, and although I’m only 38, not 68, I think all the players can be confident they won’t be relying on me to have their backs on the ground,” he laughed.