WOX 2024 COACHES
Jez to lead for third season
The 2024 season is right around the corner and what a fantastic year it should be.
We have almost finalised all of our 2024 coaching positions, with some more exciting announcements to come.
But it's important to recognise the contributions of our outgoing coaches to the Red and Black during their time with the magnets.
At the end of 2023, we said goodbye to six head coaches James Byrne (Seniors 2020-2023), David Landrigan (Reserves 2020-2023), Daniel Rush (U19 Premier 2020-2023), Andrew Batten (U19 Reserves 2020-2023), Tom Ingham (Under 23s 2020-2023) and James Wilkinson (Menages 2023).
James Byrne made an extraordinary contribution over the course of four years. His efforts in recruiting for season 2020 were unstinting, and we looked set for a brilliant year. COVID intervened, and the season was cancelled.
In 2021, his charges were top after an interrupted eleven games and were heavy favourites to win the flag. Again, James’ efforts were thwarted.
In 2022, despite changes in playing personnel forced on him each week, he led the Red ‘n’ Blacks to the finals.
The lack of a home ground, player departures, injuries and unavailability rendered last year difficult for all of us, and our senior coach wore the brunt of that. James Byrne never gave up on his team and repeatedly mentioned his great respect and regard for the many young men he had had under his wing.
We talk about turning out better people as well as better footballers, and James was front and centre in that effort in his time at the club.
David 'Chachi' Landrigan leaves the coaching role with back-to-back premierships in the reserves competition.
He embarks on a new journey as part of the police force, requiring him to step away from football commitments.
Chachi continued on the incredible culture and success of the reserves, instilling standards and sharing stories of the clubs history. The players appreciation for him is unrivalled, continuing on his popularity from his playing days.
As a Life Member, and former games record holder, his passion for the club will never wane, and we are sure to see him at Toorak Park.
Daniel Rush had incredible success as the Under 19 Premier coach, winning back-to-back premierships in 2022 and 2023.
Another former player turned coach, Rushy was a fantastic leader for the young group and was always a strong advocate for his young players.
Coaching a young group of men who missed out on a lot of football through COVID, Rushy helped pass on a passion for the club to his players, which was easy to see.
The feather in his cap will surely be the 2023 finals series, adding to the Elsternwick Park legends, holding off a strong Caulfield Grammarians into the wind in the last, then knocking off an over confident St Kevin's side in the grand final with a coaching masterclass.
A difficult task, made to look easy, Rushy has left big shoes to fill!
Andrew Batten finishes up after coaching one of the hardest jobs in the club for the last 4 years.
The Under 19 Reserves team is constantly competing with other clubs firsts teams, getting access to their best talent every week.
Coaching his own team, while assisting the management of all three teams, Battsy did a fantastic job working cohesively with all the other coaches.
Making finals in both 2022 and 2023, before tough losses against strong opponents, he gave the group belief they can continuously improve and match it with any team.
Tom Ingham has taken up an opportunity as Assistant Coach for the Oakleigh Chargers Women's team.
Tom had incredible success with the Under 23's, including back-to-back premierships in 2022 (Under 23's Competition) and 2023 (Premier Thirds).
A quiet achiever, Tom filled the roles of many during his time, and helped lead our group of player transitioning to senior football.
A very popular figure amongst his players, his dedication to the role was a great asset for the club, and he will be sorely missed.
James Wilkinson also went out on a high, coaching the Menages to the Thirds Division 1 premiership in 2023.
Wilko has maintained a constant connection with the club since he arrived, playing Under 19's, 23's and Menage, while also performing the roles of team manager and assistant coach through the years.
2023 was the year he took up the hot seat, and got the ultimate success. Reluctantly stepping away, Wilko will never be far away!
A huge thank you to all of our coaches not returning this year.
Their commitment and enthusiasm for coaching helped many players along the way.
Good luck to all on their next steps and hopefully see them cheering on the Red and Black in 2024!