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Welcome to Ryan Smith - 2017 Senior Coach

The Old Paradians’ Association Amateur Football Club is pleased to announce Ryan Smith as its Senior Coach for the 2017 season.

In making the announcement, Club President, Mike Jolley said that members of the selection panel were impressed with the strong coaching background and communication skills that Ryan displayed at interview. Jolley added “the Club is committed to climbing out of D section in the VAFA and has its sights firmly set on climbing back into the higher divisions of the competition”.

Ryan provided the following synopsis of his playing and coaching history.

“I grew up in Perth and in 1993 I travelled to Darwin to play in the NTFL where I was a premiership player in 1993/4. In 1996 I moved to Victoria after representing West Perth Football Club for six years, winning the WAFL GF in 1995 and being drafted to Fremantle Dockers that same year.

“I played with Heidelberg Football Club from 1996-2002, winning a club Best & Fairest and being runner-up on two occasions.  In 1998 I won the League Best Player medal. Despite finishing on top in 1998 and ’99 when I was captain, we were unable to win a Grand Final. I started my coaching career in 1999 whilst I was still a player, coaching the Heidelberg Under 17s to a premiership when we were severe underdogs.

“I retired as a player in 2002 and went straight into coaching. I was lucky enough to get the senior role at West Preston Football Club which had finished seventh in 2002.  We won the premiership in 2003, beating Montmorency which had lost only one game for the year. This was West Preston's first Division 1 flag ever and first flag in 20 years. I continued coaching at West Preston  until 2005 and from there went to the Northern Knights Football Club where I worked as assistant coach under extremely proficient senior coaches Neil Connell (North Melbourne), Danny Sexton (St Kilda) and Paul Satterley (Melbourne), all of whom later served in senior roles at AFL clubs. In my time at the club I was able to work with some extremely talented kids who would go on  to forge AFL careers. These included Matthew Kruezer, Jack Grimes, Michael Hurley, David Zaharakis and Parade boys Trent Cotchin and Patrick Vezpremi.

“In 2010 I took the senior role at West Coburg Football Club, where I won the AFCA coach of the year for the Essendon District Football League in that year. In 2011 we were runners-up, and in my two years at the club we built a really strong foundation and culture of discipline from which many of the kids would benefit in years to come.  West Coburg went on to win the 2015 Grand Final.

In 2012 I returned to Heidelberg Football Club as senior coach where, on the back of the club playing in the last 11 out of 12 Grand Finals, there was an exit of senior players and a strong drive to work with the younger group and bring them up as senior players. Athough we we were far from the best team in the competition we were still able make the Grand Final  but not good enough to beat Northcote Park on the day. The following year with the same group of young kids we made it to the Preliminary Final.

“I believe my strength as a coach is being able to bring the group together and create a successful culture with a combination of work ethic, rules and setting achievable goals. I believe you need to have a relationship with the players so they can have buy-in to the game plan you put in place.  Football is an emotional game and we shouldn’t shy away from this as coaches and players, but embrace the opportunity to do what we do best with the talent we have. My aim is to leave the players and footy club in a better position than when I got to the club. I believe your result as a coach is a reflection of how hard you work and can relate to the players and individuals.”

The Old Paradians’ Association Amateur Football Club takes this opportunity to welcome Ryan and looks forward to a successful association with him.

In doing so, it also pays tribute to the Club’s former coach and player David Boundy, with Jolley saying that his contribution to the Club over the past five years had been enormous. As Jolley noted, not only was David instrumental in the realisation of the 2015 Premiership as a player and a coach, but he has also left the Club with an extremely sound foundation for its future.

Having finalised the Senior Coaching role, the Club will now finalise the appointments for its Reserve and Under 19 coaching positions.

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