Thornton Eildon Football Netball Club have been to hell and back in recent times, but the Shinboners are beginning to put themselves back on the right track, with the appointment of Daryn Leaumont as Senior Coach for 2019.
Leaumont, who played 44 games for Belgrave from 2010 to 2013, has a big job on his hands, with Thornton Eildon progressively sliding down the table since their impressive 2015, where they finished second on the Division Two ladder, before exiting the finals at the hands of Seville in the semi final.
However he, and the club, are pleased with how things have gone so far this off-season with almost their entire 2018 playing list, which included 2015 leading goal kicker Luke Davison, having signed on for next year, along with several new additions.
“Our main focus at this point of time is finding as many players as we can,” said Leaumont when asked about the next step for his new club.
“We’ve got as many as seven new good young kids signed on for 2019 already, and we are aiming for another 10-15 players to be signed on before we start looking at a more tactical side of things.”
Whilst Thornton’s situation may seem grim, it is not an uncommon occurrence for local clubs in this day and age. Nunawading in the Eastern Football League is one of the more well known cases in recent years. Leaumont has been around the traps and is taking inspiration from his own experiences.
“I was part of a club where a coach bought across 12-15 blokes and went from near the bottom straight to a flag,” he says with a fair slice of cheek.
“Of course that’s a very rare feat, and whilst everyone should aim to play finals we won’t be holding out.”
Leaumont’s actual ambitions for next season are quite realistic. Whilst he says no club should ever set a ceiling on what it can achieve, his main aim is to bridge the gap on the scoreboard, become more competitive and look to win games in 2019. This is of course easier said than done.
“That (winning games) will be done by setting up more structures, with a two to three year outlook,”
“I’ve seen where they were at [in 2018] and there are things I believe that I can fix and move forward with.”
The signs of life at Thornton Eildon are not limited to the playing arena however, with Leaumont impressed with the club’s off-field culture and work ethic.
“There is a mountain of work done off the field and people who come here stick around, the culture and the club as a whole is really good.”
He’s right about people sticking around. The Shinboners last two coaches will continue to play roles for the club in 2019.
Matthew Herridge [the clubs 2018 coach] played a major role in recruiting Leaumont and is staying around to continue to help the club in a different capacity, whilst 2017 coach and ex Sydney Swan, David Stirling will continue on as president.
Thornton Eildon also fielded a senior womens team last season and is on track to field that side once again in 2019.
Leaumont’s job is not just to improve the Shinboners standing on the ladder, but to also repay the faith of supporters and volunteers with consistent results over the course of the next few years.
“We have to band together and get the on-field to match the off-field.”
If you, or anyone else you know would be interested in joining the Shinboners in 2019, you can get in contact with the aforementioned president David Stirling using the details below.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone – 0413795283