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The Old Paradians Football Club is thrilled to announce and welcome Ben Turner as our Senior Coach for 2024.

Ben comes to the Club with a wealth of experience both in the NFNL, with Greensborough, Lower Plenty and Banyule, and school footy at Parade College.  We sat down with Ben to get to know him a bit better.

First of all Ben, welcome to the OPs.  It's fantastic to have you down at the Club.  Can you tell us a bit about yourself (work, family etc)?

My Wife’s name is Emma. We have 3 kids. All girls: Zoe who is 13, Ruby who is 9 and Ivy is 7. For work, I’m a teacher at Parade College. Have been at the College since 2001 where I started as an AFL trainee before gaining further qualifications to Coordinate the Sport Program and now teach.
And can you tell us a bit about your footy background?  Both playing and coaching.
Played all of my junior footy at Greensborough. Graduated to the senior club in 1999 where I played 19’s, reserves and seniors until 2006. In 2007 I spent one year at Hurstbridge where I played a full year in seniors before returning to Greensborough at seasons end to coach the under 19’s.
From 2008 – 2013 I was the clubs under 19’s coach. We won 3 premierships and finshed runners-up twice in my time. I loved every bit of being an under 19’s coach. In 2014, I decided to concentrate on the seniors where I was the senior assistant coaching the mids. We won the senior premiership in 2015 before Robert Hyde walked into the club the following day and stood down as senior coach. In 2015, I coached the Greensborough seniors, we finished 2nd and the following year we finished 3rd.
At the end of the season I was moved on and made my way to Lower Plenty as assistant coach to a playing coach. Enjoyed it there before being offered the senior position at the end of 2017. In 2018 we won the senior division 2 premiership. 2019 was a hard year in division 1 where we struggled with injuries, eventually being relegated. I finished my time at Lower Plenty at the end of 2021. 2022 and 2023 were spent at Banyule where I was assistant coach, looking after the forwards and enjoying a memorable 2022, winning the premiership!
What would you say attracted you to the OPs job?
The main reason for coming to the OP’s was to be a part of the move from the VAFA to the NFNL. All of my experience has been within the NFNL and I felt like I was the right person for the job. The other element to this was my connection with the current and past students here at Parade. We have a rich history in AFL, every club I walk into in the NFNL has some sort of Parade connection, so I’m hoping that myself and the other coaches I brought in will be able to encourage some of those to join us on this journey.
What type of footy and coaching philosophies do you have?
Much depends on the group we compile, but ideally my playing plan will revolve around scoring (giving ourselves the best chance anyway) and playing an attractive attacking style. We want to be hard to play against, so we will be fit and have a desire to win contested footy.
As a coach, my philosophy is to be as organized, open and communicative as possible. A big part of my philosophy is to communicate with the players and encourage it 2 ways. I want to see our club succeed, so I’m hoping my experiences will bring out the best in others.
Finally, what are your plans and expectations for 2024?
To be relevant, competitive and earn our respect. Being new to the competition, we are heading into the unknown. Its an exciting challenge. I don’t have any bold predictions at this stage, I’d love to say we are going to win the premiership and that might be possible, but I think for me its about being as competitive as we can be each week, ensuring that we are hard to play against and if that means that we are winning matches then that will be a great result.

Joining Ben in the coaches box in 2024 are two new assistants.  Shaun Bowie and Cameron Elmore.  Both Shaun and Cam are current teachers at Parade College, and have extensive NFNL footy knowledge and history.

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