One of Kyneton’s favourite sons has been given the task of shaping the club’s future.
Ex-AFL forward Nathan Thompson, who called time on his playing career in 2016 after booting 31 goals in 13 Bendigo Football League games for the Tigers, has been appointed as Kyneton’s under-18 coach for the next two seasons.
“It’s my home club,” Thompson said.
“It’s where I grew up and I have been back for a fair while now helping in different areas. “Originally it was trying to help the club get back on their feet.
“Over the last four years it has been coaching junior teams.
“Now to step into … a really important and challenging role (is) something I am really looking forward to.”
Thompson, who played 179 AFL games with Hawthorn and North Melbourne which yielded 327 goals, said the strength of Kyneton’s under-18 program would be crucial to building sustainable success for the club.
“I am not really that interested in how talented the guys are,” he said.
“What I am keen on is that the guys are committed and I have made that clear to them all.
“I am certainly going to bring a system and style of play for the guys that may be slightly different to (what) they are used to. “The main focus is on development and improvement.”
The 41-year-old said being mindful of the pressures faced by teenage footballers as they juggle schooling, work and sport would be an important part of his new role.
“It’s just a really important time for the football club as a really strong batch of junior players that have been moving through over the last few years,” he said.
“I knew a lot of the kids that were playing in the current group and was keen to get involved and try and assist them through what is normally a pretty difficult couple of years of footy.”
Thompson said any calls on senior opportunities would ultimately be left to coach Luke Beattie, but added he was sure those who applied themselves would come under consideration.
“It’s a huge jump to go from under-18s to senior footy,” he said.
“But if there are guys who put in the effort and are showing the capability and desire then I am sure Luke will have a good look at them and the opportunities will be there.”
Thompson will take charge for the first time when Kyneton’s under-18 side takes on Golden Square in the opening round on April 13.