By Matt Fotia
From Subiaco to Monbulk. Not many people can say they’ve travelled this journey, but Monbulk’s Senior Coach Andrew Williams has and he’s loving every minute he spends at the Hawks nest.
Williams was taken in 1997 National Draft by the West Coast Eagles and played 84 games for the West Australian powerhouse, before moving to Collingwood for the 2003 season where he played 22 games but was not selected for the Grand Final, which Collingwood went on to lose defeated by the great Brisbane Lions side of that era.
Williams played just a further 10 games for the Magpies across the next two seasons, spending majority of his time with their then VFL affiliate Williamstown. He was delisted by Collingwood at the end of the 2005 season. He finished up with 116 games and 64 goals.
Williams has since set off on his coaching journey with Monbulk being his first senior role. He’s spent time as Assistant Coach at Beaconsfield, in Bendigo working with St Kilda great Austin Jones and most recently at the Northern Blues in the VFL.
All of these roles have given Williams plenty of experience in player development, tactical systems and building relationships – the key pillars of coaching success. He is endeavouring to implement these successfully at Monbulk, a club he’s already infatuated with.
“I absolutely love it here at Monbulk, when I walked in I thought it had a great feel to it, they’ve been so welcoming,”
“It’s a real community football club and I’m a football nut – I love just being around the club and could definitely see myself settling in for the long term.”
At this stage you’d suggest that Monbulk would be keen for Williams to stick around.
The Hawks are sitting pretty on top of the Division One Ladder and are yet to taste defeat. The Hawks playing group and football department are committed to the club and it’s future and have everything in place for success. Sustainable success too with a strong junior program in place at the club as well.
Williams first task as a senior coach was to make his vision come to life. Wary of the difference in contact hours, number of coaching personnel between the Outer East and the VFL, as well as the complexity of his VFL developed game-style, he kept it as simple as possible.
“I had to rein it back in and work out how I could make the system relatable to local footy, so we’ve broken it into sections and have drip fed it in because you don’t want to overload the group with information,”
“We trained it all pre-season and the boys have really embraced it.”
Not only have they embraced it, they’ve executed it as well.
The Hawks are number one for both attack and defence in season 2019. Shane Williams is the leading goal kicker in the division with 20 majors (including 10 goals against Pakenham), whilst the likes of Jared Major, Cameron Griffiths, Diarmid McClelland and co have been ultra impressive in defence. The midfield isn’t bad either.
They faced a tough slog in heavy conditions against Warburton Millgrove last Saturday, but ground out their sixth victory of the season by a cool 67 points, despite the inability to play their usual free-flowing football. Shane Williams booted five goals, whilst the aforementioned McClelland was named best afield for his game across half back.
“We’ve set up really well defensively in every game this season and we’ve got some really good versatile defenders who read the play extremely well,”
“I’ve given them license to go for their marks, back themselves and play to their strengths.”
If the Hawks continue their winning run this weekend against third placed Doveton they’ll have successfully defeated every team in the division.
So far so good for the man from Subiaco.