Hawks look back to go forward

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Updated: September 15, 2015
Drysdale has appointed Wade Chapman as coach for the next three years. Picture: LINDY SCOTT
Drysdale has appointed Wade Chapman as coach for the next three years. Picture: LINDY SCOTT

Drysdale has appointed Wade Chapman (left) as senior coach for the next three years. Picture: LINDY SCOTT

DRYSDALE has turned to a familiar face in its quest to return to the upper echelon of Bellarine football after appointing Wade Chapman as coach for the next three years.

The 39-year-old returns to the club he guided to famous premiership wins over Geelong Amateur in 2009-10 after spending time 2011-12 as an assistant coach with VFL club Werribee and two seasons in charge of Western Region league club Werribee Districts, which he guided to a grand final this year.

Chapman takes over from John Fitzgerald, who stood down at the end of a season, one that mustered just five wins for the Hawks, their worst return since going winless in 1981.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Chapman told K-ROCK Football.com.au.

“It’s going to be a lot of hard work trying to get the club up to where I believe that they should be.”

Chapman spent four years in charge during his first stint with Drysdale, guiding the club to the finals each season and posting a 61-19-1 record during his time in charge.

However, he is well aware of the transformation the list has undergone since he departed the club, with only a handful of premiership players remaining.

“Going through that list, there’s not many at all,” he said.

“It’s going to be a different bunch of players that I’ll be coaching.”

Chapman says the task of list retention and recruiting will begin in earnest.

“The job pretty much starts ASAP,” he said.

“The club have been working in that regard with possible recruits and keeping that list together.

“There’s a lot of hard work to do.”

Chapman believes his coaching has further improved since first leaving the Hawks.

“I think I’ve learned a lot and I go back as, I think, a better coach, too,” he said.

Despite further developing his craft at higher levels, Chapman and his young family have continued to live in Drysdale.

“I haven’t moved and my kids go to school in Drysdale and my young fella has been playing in the under-10s in the last couple of years.

“I have a real passion for the town and the footy club.”

Twitter: @tom_king79