By Nick Creely
While the inaugural season of AFL Outer East officially finished on Friday 27 September, preparations are in full swing for 2020, with some clubs already making some significant on field and off-field moves.
The powerful Beaconsfield Football Netball Club has announced its new senior coach, with former Noble Park two-time premiership coach Mick Fogarty putting pen to paper at Holm Park in a massive coup for the club.
The highly sought-after Fogarty – who coached the Bulls to two premierships (2010 and 2011) in the revered Eastern Football League – is the longest serving coach in Noble Park’s illustrious history – and finished up at the club this year, where he has been replaced by another notable name in Steve Hughes.
He was linked to a number of potentially vacant jobs in Outer East and in a number of neighbouring local leagues.
The incoming Eagles coach replaces Leigh McQuillen, who after three years at the helm, stood down after the preliminary final for work/family reasons. McQuillen at this stage has not ruled out coaching closer to home, but is likely to sit out of football in 2020.
Narre Warren, meanwhile, is also on the lookout for a new senior coach after Matt Shinners stood down in similar circumstances after his side’s incredible premiership, and could be set for an announcement in the next two weeks, with the position highly sought-after.
Berwick is also in a similar boat and are on the hunt for a new main man, with Rhys Nisbet departing the Wickers and signing on as senior coach for West Gippsland club, Kooweerup.
Division 1 reigning premiers, Doveton have wasted little time in bolstering its list for a move up to Premier in 2020, signing Rowville forward Mark Seedsman as well as bringing Jarrod Smith back to the club.
Seedsman kicked 40 goals in the Hawks reserves this season after just five senior games, struggling to break into the side after being a senior regular for a number of years. Smith – a former Dandenong Stingray star – re-joins the Doves after a stint at St Kilda City.
The Doves have also welcomed back inside midfielder Charlie O’Neill, who has played the last two seasons at Highett.
Much-loved Doveton great Aaron Henwood has, meanwhile, handed over the baton of club president to John Stapleton in 2020, with Henwood standing down after a four-year stint where he guided the Doves from a dark chapter in its history into a premiership.
And incoming Division 1 senior club Berwick Springs, has announced Rodney Benstead as its inaugural senior football coach.
Benstead played VFL football for North Melbourne and VFA footy for Coburg, and previously coached two years at Lyndale Football Club.