The Rock-Yerong Creek are prepared to change a winning formula if that’s what it takes to defend their title.
New co-coach Andrew Clarke appreciates it’s a golden opportunity to join a successful club but he’s aware that reigning premiers can take nothing for granted.
“I guess knowing that we had a good side last year (is ideal),” Clarke said.
“But knowing that other clubs have recruited well, we’re going to have to sit down and come up with a better game plan.”
In his first coaching role Clarke has teamed up with TRYC full forward Andy Carey, replacing premiership-winning mentor David Pieper at the helm.
The pair has the support of two assistants, with classy midfielder Tom Yates joining rock-solid defender Aiden Ridley on the coaching staff.
“We’ve got ample experience, which is good. It helps me out and helps Andy out,” Clarke said.
The backman arrives at TRYC after two seasons at Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong where he was impressed with the leadership of Jayden Kotzur.
But Clarke’s football pedigree is all Osborne.
The Hume League powerhouse is where he learnt about winning premierships and came under the influence of coach Graham Hart.
Clarke was impressed with Hart’s quietly-spoken approach which showed him there’s more than one way to get the best out of players.
The step up to coaching is a personal challenge for Clarke but as the Pies get into their second week of pre-season, the fitness fanatic is growing in confidence and leading by example.
“Bit of running first but we’ll try to get the majority of our fitness with the balls instead of flogging them this early in the pre-season – try to keep it enjoyable I guess.”
Clarke is one of two key off-season signings for TRYC, alongside former Coolamon and Wodonga defender Mitch Stephenson.
But with North Wagga, Temora, Coleambally and the Northern Jets active in the off-season, he expects them to be right up there with the Pies and runners-up East Wagga-Kooringal.
“Northern Jets – the three they got out of Canberra, the Rand-Walbundrie boys (Justin Mesman, Mark Kimball and Tim Gray) they’re jets so it’ll be interesting to see how they make the transition from the Hume League to the Farrer,” he said.
“And then obviously Coly with their coach (Josh Hamilton) and recruits (Chris Cerato, Tom Groves and Brandon Mathews). They were three quality players in the RFL so you can imagine what they can do.”
The Magpies will play two practice games in March, away to Narrandera and Hume League side, Jindera.