Big shoes to fill for Stoofa

Updated: November 17, 2015
Steve Lewry's impact as coach is already being felt at Bell Post Hill. Picture: AL PACKER

Steve Lewry takes charge of Bell Post Hill training for the first time since replacing Brent Grgic as coach. Picture: AL PACKER

Steve Lewry takes charge of Bell Post Hill training for the first time since replacing Brent Grgic as coach. Picture: AL PACKER

STEVE Lewry doesn’t need to be reminded he is filling the biggest shoes in local football.

The man known universally as ‘Stoofa’ has been appointed as Bell Post Hill coach after the departure of five-time premiership coach Brent Grgic to a role with the Geelong VFL team.

“He’s a legend,” Lewry said of Grgic.

“He’s an amazing man. I learned so much off him.

“I’d been at AFL level and VFL level, and worked with some very good coaches, but he’s very unique.

“He’s well measured, a good head on his shoulders, cared for everyone, very passionate.

“But to he’s credit he never barracked. He taught me never to look at the scoreboard, just do your work and don’t get overawed.”

The ever-enthusiastic Lewry is under no illusion the Panthers will be hunted by the other 11 clubs keen to end their stranglehold on the competition.

“15 per cent improvement,” Lewry said when asked what Bell Post Hill needs to do to stay ahead of the pack.

“We had some good victories, but I’m really going to try and cement into these guys minds that this is a new year and a new start.

“Put the silverware away. That was exciting back then in September, but now we’re into a new season.

“All I’m focusing on now is hard work and get them conditioned for the start of the season.”

Although he’s football coaching resume is minimal (a season with Newcomb’s reserves in 1994), Lewry is confident the time he has spent around clubs at a range of levels has him well prepared for taking over at Myers Reserve.

“With my job it’s coaching every single day,” he said.

“I’m in a lifestyle of coaching.

“Coaching is coaching. It’s about player management, man management, and whether you’re training fitness or whatever, there are three things you’re in control of; energy levels, attitude and technique.

“They’re the three things that I try and work, and usually it works.”

On the recruiting front, triple-premiership player David Holzfeind has returned after two seasons at Corio.

“Holzy’s a massive inclusion for us. We’re rally rapt,” Lewry said.

“He’s a ball-getter. We know the way he plays and we’re excited by that.”

A navicular injury will keep Tim Barton sidelined for most of pre-season.

“He’s been doing a lot of work on the grinder, so he’s really keen,” Lewry said.

“Timmy’s looking at 14-16 weeks.

“A lot of people don’t realise Timmy had the same injury and we played him in a grand final.

“He’s got a premiership medal because of his resilience and what he did to get back on the park.”

Co-captain Joel Page, who missed this year’s success because of an ongoing knee complaint, had surgery on Sunday in the hope of being right for 2016.

“He’ll do everything it takes to get back on the park,” Lewry said.

Twitter: @tom_king79

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