From the dogs to the Blues

By Paul Pickering
A NEW era beckons for Catani Football Club after the appointment of Graeme Jose to replace dual premiership coach and club legend Paul Alger.
Jose, an assistant coach and chairman of selectors at the Blues this year, will be formally appointed at the club’s annual general meeting tonight.
The ascension of the former Longwarry coach to the top job means the end of Alger’s nine-year tenure, which included two flags, four grand finals and nine finals appearances.
Alger, who was keen to continue as a playing-coach next season at the age of 47, was all class in his acceptance of the decision this week.
“I’ve been there for nine years, so it was the right time for a change – for them and probably for myself as well,” he said.
“There’s no animosity between me and the club. I’ll be going somewhere else, but I’m not exactly sure where.”
Club president Norm Forster paid tribute to the outstanding service Alger had given the club, but said it was time for the Blues to move on.
“It was a tough decision, but the committee just thought we needed a fresh change,” Forster said.
“Paul’s done a great job for us over the years.”
Jose was also keen to acknowledge his predecessor, saying he and the club had not discussed a promotion until after season’s end.
The man known as “Bubba” said he was looking forward to the cut and thrust of senior coaching after a year in the back of the box.
He stepped aside partly to focus on his budding greyhound training operation, which saw him win the National Distance Championship and Sandown Cup with Mantra Lad in 2009.
But Jose says he has no shortage of dog-sitters to help him out if and when his two sporting pastimes intersect.
“If one of my dogs make it into the final of a big race, that’s the only time there might be a hiccup,” he said.
The Blues have put their faith in the club’s young brigade for next year and will not be entering into any bidding wars for big-name players over the summer.
“It’s going to be a development phase,” Jose said.
“There’s 12 under-18 players coming up (to senior level) next season, and I think I work pretty well with young fellas, so I’ll focus on bringing a bit of youth into the club.”
Jose is the latest in a series of recent coaching appointments in the Ellinbank and District Football League, following Shane Newcombe’s appointment at Kooweerup and Brad Sinclair’s return to Nilma Darnum.
Newcombe, who played with the Demons as a teenager before a lengthy career with Devon Meadows, was officially welcomed back to the club at its recent presentation night.