Hawks embrace challenging start

Updated: March 6, 2016
Wade Chapman is back for a second stint as coach of Drysdale. . Picture: AL PACKER
Drysdale coach Wade Chapman. Picture: AL PACKER

Drysdale coach Wade Chapman. Picture: AL PACKER

AFTER a 2015 that reaped just five wins, being handed a fixture that features four of last year’s finalists to open the season would be considered daunting for most.

But according to Wade Chapman, it’s just the challenge Drysdale needs after what was, in terms of wins, the Hawks least successful season since …

They start their 2016 campaign with a trip to Ocean Grove in Round 1, followed by meetings with Anglesea (home), Barwon Heads (away) and reigning premier Geelong Amateur (home).

“To test ourselves against four of the finalists from last year, (is) no better way to start the season,” he said.

“It’s going to be a good test for the group.”

Chapman has returned to Mortimer Oval for a second tenure as coach.

In his first stint between 2007-10, where he also played a key role as a small forward, he snapped a 24-year premiership drought in 2009 and then delivered a second flag the following season before stepping down.

However, Drysdale fans hoping history can repeat itself are being urged to be patient.

“Coaching’s all about challenges, and this one that I’ve taken, I believe, is a big one,” Chapman said.

“The club won five games last year.

“I’ve come into the role realistic. There’s going to be some highs, but there’s going to be some lows, too.

“That’s all a part of coaching.”

The dynamic of the group has also changed, with only handful of players remaining from the back-to-back successes.

“I see that as an exciting with a very young list,” Chapman said.

“As I said to the players at the first pre-season training run, I’ve coached six guys, and everyone else is starting on a level playing field and you’ll be judged on what you do on the training track.”

Following his departure from Drysdale, Chapman spent two years as an assistant coach with VFL club Werribee and two seasons as non-playing coach of Western Region team Werribee Districts, taking them to a preliminary final in 2014 and a grand final last year.

He says the different experiences, in a non-playing capacity, have helped grow his coaching.

“When you’re a playing coach you tend to worry about getting yourself right and getting yourself fit,” Chapman said.

“Now that you’re non-playing, you sit back and take in how guys approach their training, game day, and you pick up a lot more.

“I’ve got no doubt I’ve learnt a lot since I’ve left.”

Twitter: @tom_king79