Seymour will be in experienced hands next Goulburn Valley League football season under the tutelage of former AFL footballer and Victorian cricketer Nick Jewell.
After an extensive search for a replacement for Brent Colbert — who led the side for the past four seasons but stepped down as coach at season’s end — the Lions finally got their man.
The Lions have also secured the signature of midfield ace Jason Cole, who will be Jewell’s playing assistant coach next year.
Jewell previously led both Sorrento and Rosebud in the Nepean Football Netball League. He has also coached cricket at a high level, and he said coaching had always been a passion of his.
But Jewell not only brings a solid coaching background to the role, he also brings a wealth of experience from playing at the top level.
He played a season of football with Richmond in 1997, before turning his attention to cricket and making his debut for Victoria in the 2001-02 season.
As far as coaching goes, Jewell can certainly take his wisdom from one of the best — his father Tony.
Tony played in the VFL between 1964 and 1970 for Richmond, and he was senior coach of the Tigers from 1979 to 1981, leading the club to the 1980 premiership.
He later returned to coach the club in 1986 and 1987, and was also the coach of St Kilda in 1983 and 1984.
‘‘I’ve been very lucky in the fact that I have been able to play under some terrific coaches in my time. Blokes like Robert Walls, David Hookes, John Scholes, Shaun Graf and Greg Shipperd, and then obviously there’s my Dad as well,’’ Jewell said.
‘‘Every time I sit down to watch a game of footy with Dad it’s like sitting in the coach’s box.
‘‘Pretty much all of my senior coaches, whether that was in footy or cricket, played cricket for Australia or played AFL football, so I’ve been very lucky and had a great grounding ... I’ve been able to take the best out of all of those guys and package it in to what I bring as well.’’
Seymour’s senior side has been on the improve for the past few seasons, and that steady rise up the ranks culminated in a preliminary final berth this year.
Jewell’s plan isn’t to make any radical changes when he takes the helm. Instead, he plans to work with the sound base that Colbert has left as he attempts to lead the Lions to the ultimate success.
‘‘You certainly don’t want to reinvent the wheel,’’ Jewell said.
‘‘Sure, it’ll be a slightly different game plan, every coach has their own tweak, but you can tell with their improvement over the years that they’ve been really well led and coming off a prelim final, we hope that’ll be a benchmark to build on from there.’’
Seymour has already lost three players from this year’s side — midfielder Andrew Sturgess has taken up an assistant coaching gig with VFL side Coburg, while Colbert has retired and forward dynamo Hugh Robertson will line-up for Bendigo-based side Strathfieldsaye in 2018.
Despite the exodus of the three key players, Jewell is confident the young Lions side will continue to prosper with the addition of a handful of recruits.
‘‘You don’t want to go and recruit the world, there’s obviously a pretty solid list here already so you certainly don’t want to go and bring in five or six new players and harm the fabric of what we’ve got already,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ll just go and get what we need, which is probably just two or three senior players in certain roles, and continue to bring on the guys who are within the club.
‘‘I’ve also always been one to give the kids a go, so I’ll be looking to bring on some kids as well; there’s a couple of the under-18 boys who have been waiting for the opportunity.
‘‘So it’ll be a mix of recruits and elevating people around the club to hopefully allow us to take that next step.’’
Jewell said he was thrilled to have Cole on board, not only in a playing capacity, but as his assistant.
‘‘He’s just a star of the competition. To have Jase’s experience not only around the club, but as an on-field leader at this level of football as well is a huge asset to the team,’’ Jewell said.
‘‘If your on-field leaders can spread your message during the game and be on the same page as you, it makes life easier in the crunch games.’’
Cole was equally excited to be taking on the role.
‘‘Coaching was probably something I hadn’t really thought about too much, but I think as I’ve got older its probably just a natural progression in my career,’’ Cole said.
‘‘I think it’ll be good to have some fresh blood around the club with some new ideas, and I’m sure he’ll be able to teach me a few things as well and he’ll be a great bloke to learn under.
‘‘I think with a few small tweaks we can go the distance. We definitely have the cattle and we’re a fairly young team so they are only naturally going to improve.
‘‘I think we’re right in the premiership window at the moment and it’s just a matter of harnessing the talent that we’ve got.’’
The Lions will kick off pre-season on November 13, and will continue to train every Monday and Wednesday in the lead-up to Christmas.