By Callum Ludwig
Wesburn’s U15s football team have tapped into their former player base for their coaches this year, ditching the usual dads for a three-pronged young lineup of Kane McDonald, Ryan Gribbrock and Pat Huynh.
All three played for Wesburn’s junior ranks in recent years and have returned to help guide the next generation of youngsters to come through the club.
Head Coach McDonald was an assistant last season and Gribbrock and Huynh saw his work last year before deciding to come on board as assistants.
McDonald spoke highly of Huynh’s humility to return to his junior club.
“Patty Huynh is an ex-league best and fairest with the juniors at Wesburn and he could have had Wesburn in the rear vision mirror, to still be coming back after having such a great role to play shows a lot about him,” he said.
“For him to be our skills coach is massive for us because he’s changed a lot of the way our the kids played, he’s awesome.”
Wesburn’s U15s are a young side in the U15 Ranges division, with only three top age players.
McDonald said all three coaches have brought different skills to the table.
“Grib (Gribbrock) has been awesome as well, he plays out at Powelly(Powelltown) now and has implemented some of the stuff they use out there, so it’s good to have a combination of the play styles at Warby (Warburton-Millgrove, where Huynh plays) and Powelly,”
“Then I was at Lilydale as well and still utilise some things from there. It helps that Patty is a midfielder, Grib is a forward and I am a backman as well for when we go into groups in our lines.”
The side currently sits fourth out of seven teams after seven rounds, with two wins and five losses and a percentage of 73.19.
McDonald said both the players and the coaches themselves have enjoyed having younger men in charge of the team.
“We still have a couple of dads who come down and help us out, and they said the kids are really loving it, and they’re not just listening to old blokes all the time,” he said.
“I loved it as an assistant last year, and coming on again this year as a head coach, I’ve absolutely loved it so much more, I speak regularly with the other coaches and it’s something we look forward to coming to after work and on game day.”
The side is coming off a 0-158 drubbing of Yarra Glen away from home ahead of their game against sixth places Healesville who also have two wins to their name.
McDonald said it is an experience he would recommend to any young aspiring coach.
“It’s something you might not think at the start you might like but when you go on like further into it you actually grow as a person yourself such as with your public speaking,” he said.
“When I started last year I could barely hand out the awards at the end of the game and now I’m talking to the players all the time and it is no worries to me, I don’t get nervous anymore.”