Tony Roebuck steps up to become head coach of the Bundaberg Spirit.
Tony Roebuck steps up to become head coach of the Bundaberg Spirit. DARRYN SMITH

Bates stays on for Spirit

THIS season’s assistant coach Tony Roebuck will graduate to head coach of the Bundaberg Spirit next season, with current mentor Richard Mitchell appointed to director of coaching.

Mitchell’s position is a new role at the club, designed to oversee both senior and youth Spirit sides and keep them streamlined.

Roebuck’s new assistant is Paul Fagan, a Brisbane State League player for more than 20 seasons and former coach of Bundaberg Waves 10 years ago.

The pair already works side by side at the Club Hotel and is confident they will be able to deal with keeping even closer company.

“Usually I’m telling him what to do, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen now,” Fagan joked.

“We bounce off each other and we’re both looking forward to it.”

Roebuck already has the respect of the players and coaching staff and should slip comfortably into the new role.

“We’re very pleased with the appointment,” Football Bundaberg chairman Greg Bath said.

“The players have a lot of time for him and having Richard in a new role fits much better into his already heavy workload at Football Bundaberg.”

Youth coach Steve Bates is the only one to remain where he is, but will have a new sidekick in 2011.

Nog Connelly, another Scotsman — joining Mitchell and Fagan — will assist for Bates.

“It’s going to allow me to spend some quality time with each player, which I didn’t get enough chances to do this season.”

Plans for next season include purchasing up to four players from A-League Youth teams, while also rotating the maximum two over-age players through the youth team each week.

“It will allow us to have an extra two guys in the squad each week and also get some old heads in that young team,” Roebuck said.

They expect to have their recruits available from round one next season.

“This year was our best on and off the park, but I think we’ll start even stronger next season,” Mitchell said.



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