The Alex Scott and Staff West Gippsland Football Netball Competition has turned to proven commodity Mark Lafferty to lead its senior interleague team at this year’s Worksafe Community Championships.
Lafferty coached the Alberton Football Netball League team to successive championships wins against Loddon Valley in 2015 and Riddell and District in 2016 and will take the reins of West Gippsland for its clash with Maryborough Castlemaine and District next month.
Following last year’s defeat to Riddell and District at Macedon, Lafferty was keen to see West Gippsland – currently sitting 26th on the championships rankings – head in the right direction and provide a representative program the competition and its players can be proud to participate in.
“I don’t think the current ranking reflects the competition that we play in so it’s really important that we try and register a win to improve our ranking and put the competition where it should be,” Lafferty said.
“It’s something that has to be built over a period of time but hopefully we can start something that guys continually want to come back to and be a part of each year.”
In addition to his past interleague involvement, Lafferty has plenty of experience at club level, having coached Meeniyan-Dumbalk United’s senior side from 2013-16 and served as midfield coach of Port Melbourne’s VFL Development League side last year.
Lafferty has appointed Inverloch-Kongwak’s current and reigning premiership coach Ben Soumilas and MDU legend Dave Trotman ensuring three sets of eyes will be attending games in a bid to ensure players in good form don’t go unnoticed.
He also believes the competition possesses the depth of talent to not get caught up chasing players not interested in pulling on the red and gold.
“To say that you played and represented your league is an honour and guys should see it that way,” he said.
“I’m not into forcing superstars to play because I don’t think you get the best out of them in those instances anyway.
“If it means choosing guys that are in that age bracket of 18-23 [years] because they really want to play representative footy and want to better themselves then that’s who I’ll pick.”
Clubs have been asked to nominate players for selection, with the first of three training sessions on Sunday, 29 April, ahead of the game at Garfield on Saturday, 19 May.