THE new head Eagle has officially landed in the Echuca United nest.
On Friday, recently appointed senior coach Adam Sutherland visited Echuca South Recreation Reserve for the first time after returning to Victoria from Queensland.
While it was only a quick pit stop before moving to the twin towns full time later in the year, Sutherland said he was extremely pleased by what greeted him.
“My first impressions of the club are exactly what I had been told by people I know,” he said.
“Everyone has been very welcoming and now I’m keen to get started.
“We’ve got some very good facilities and the ground looks in great condition.
“I think it is a good size and I’m a big believer in the bigger grounds create a better spectacle for the supporters.”
Despite living thousands of kilometres away when he was named coach, Sutherland has already got on the front foot to get to know his players.
“I’ve had a few calls with some of the boys which was a really good start,” he said.
“Relationships are everything in local football and I thought it was important to get in touch as soon as possible.
“A lot of people involved with the club have said the playing group is very tight-knit and that gives me a lot of confidence for us to work towards a common goal.”
Sutherland said the strong family theme within the four walls of United was one of the biggest factors in him deciding to apply for the job.
“I think having a strong family environment where everyone is involved in a club is very important in community sport,” he said.
“Especially with everything that has happened this year you want to have a strong culture where everyone is going to support each other.”
Eagles president Ian Johnson said he was looking forward to seeing everyone come back together.
“I think everyone misses playing but more people are missing (being) with their mates,” he said.
“The sooner we can get back into pre-season and start training the better it will be for everyone’s health.
“Adam has really impressed the committee with his work ethic and we’re looking forward to developing a really strong relationship.”
After growing up and living in Bacchus Marsh for a large part of his life, Sutherland is all too well aware of club rivalries within a community.
It was once Bacchus Marsh against Darley. From now on it will be all about United and Moama.
“I love rivalries and I’m not going to downplay just how much I enjoy those,” he said.
“Footy is built on clubs playing out great contests and I look forward to the challenge against Moama who are a team on the rise.
“I think having that local competition is just good for the players, but everyone involved with the club.
“I can’t wait for that first game and hopefully we can come out on top.”
While Sutherland isn’t prepared to put any performance expectations on the club next year, he does have one clear goal in mind.
“I want to be able to give our junior players an opportunity to play senior football,” he said.
“One of the best things about young players is they have so much improvement in them you aren’t sure where they’re going to end up.
“They bring a lot of enthusiasm to the team and sometimes they can give the older guys a push.
“The club is very proud of their junior program and I want to help build on the foundations they’ve already got in place.”
United are yet to confirm any signings for 2021, although they have already lost experienced duo Farran Priest and Phil Hubbard to Heathcote District League club Elmore.
But Sutherland is confident there will be new payers coming in the door.
“We want to add some experience to help balance out the side and give those younger guys some more leadership,” he said.
“Nothing has been confirmed yet but hopefully we will have some more news on that front soon.”
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