K rock Football

Buck to step down at Inver

Inverleigh coach Adam Donohue will stand down at the end of the season. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

After five years as a coach during one of the most challenging periods in local football, Adam Donohue will step down from the top job at Inverleigh at the end of the season.

He told the playing group tonight (Thursday) he won’t be going on beyond the 2023 campaign.

“Five years, albeit with one cancelled year and one half-year, we’ve still done five pre-seasons and gone through Covid,” Donohue told krockfootball.com.au.

“I just think the time’s right for the footy club to have a change of voice and change of direction.

“I probably knew it was going to happen, and I wanted to let the club know early so they could put things in place to get someone in by the end of the year and have the group know what direction they’re going.”

Donohue, who spent two years on Geelong’s list as a father-son selection before starring with Grovedale and Geelong Amateur, says joining Inverleigh ahead of the 2019 season is “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made”.

His interest was piqued after being contacted by club great Arthur Hodgson when Inverleigh went hunting for a replacement for Mark McDowell.

“I have to thank Arthur and the committee for giving me a chance to coach over some well-known coaches they could have easily selected,” Donohue said.

“It’s been a journey – ups and downs. But I’m really glad I took the challenge on.

“It was a big job in 2019 after we lost half a team to make sure we stabilised and built again.

“It’s been a hell of a ride, but I haven’t regretted one second of it, and, hopefully, we’ve got plenty in the tank for the rest of the year.”

In 2019, Inverleigh finished fourth after losing the first semi-final to Werribee Centrals following a Josh Sutton goal after the siren.

When action resumed in 2021 after 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Hawks won all 12 home-and-away games and appeared set to claim a first flag since 1992 when the season was paused on the eve of the finals.

2022 resulted in a grand final appearance that saw Inverleigh fall just four points short of Bannockburn.

Donohue’s overall record is 48 wins and 14 losses – a ratio of just under 80 per cent.

President David Haste welcomed Donohue’s early decision, which will allow Inverleigh plenty of time to find a replacement for 2024.

“We’re really impressed with his respect for us,” Haste said. “For him to come out and make this announcement and be honest is true to his personality.

“It means we can move forward and plan for the future with a clear path.”

Haste confirmed Hodgson would head up the panel to find Inverleigh’s new coach.

Twitter: @krockfootball