By Russell Bennett
“Footy is my life – I love it, and I just can’t stay away from it.”
Matt Shorey wasn’t kidding when he told the Gazette about his latest footy coaching foray over the weekend.
One of the local region’s straightest shooters admitted that he’s a footy tragic who just can’t get enough of the game, and that’s a big part of the reason why when the Nilma Darnum Football Club approached him late last year to lead their senior side, he accepted within a week.
After initially planning to spend 2018 focusing on his role with the Beaconsfield Superules side – which he is still firmly committed to coach – Shorey spoke with his family about a potential return to the Ellinbank and District Football League with the Bombers.
“I had a good chat to my wife (Julie) and we just decided that if I’m going to do this I might as well do it now,” he said.
“It’s just one of those things where I really enjoy coaching, and I missed it.”
Shorey doesn’t hide his affinity for the league. In his last stint coaching in the EDFL, he led Kooweerup to a grand final appearance against Cora Lynn as a player-coach.
He’s since taken on the senior role at Hampton Park, and most recently the forwards coaching assignment at Tooradin Dalmore, but now he’s back right in the thick of the action of country footy.
He admits to feeling somewhat “burnt out” after his Hampton Park role, but added that his stint at the Seagulls re-stoked that fire.
“They pretty much gave me a lifeline to go and help them out for a year and just to take a step back and watch Lachie (Gillespie) coach, basically,” Shorey said.
“It was good to see that other side of coaching – to watch someone coach a senior team and still be a part of it. I took some real positives out of my time at Tooradin.”
Shorey signed on the dotted line in mid-November and led around a month of pre-season training sessions at the Bombers before the end of last year. Monday night was the group’s return to training for 2018, with fitness a clear emphasis.
The core group of last season will return, along with a few key additions such as former Warragul Industrials and Officer midfielder Chris LaRosa.
Others have returned to Nilma Darnum after an absence, while former coach Dean Alger stepped down at the end of last season.
Shorey said he’s already been in contact with him for his thoughts on some of the current players, and will stay in touch moving forward.
He knows how tough the EDFL competition will be in 2018 with the likes of premiers Catani, the Industrials, Longwarry, Lang Lang and Ellinbank all set to take significant strides forward.
“At this point the reason why I took on Nilma was because they were fourth bottom (seventh) and were a few games out of the finals and there’s a chance to get them back into the finals straight away, and that’s what we’re really hoping for,” he said.
Shorey also added just how excited he is by his new challenge, which he takes on alongside the Superules and also helping to coach his children’s basketball.
“I probably haven’t been this excited for a couple of years,” he said about the Bombers.
“I called a meeting pretty much straight after I signed with seven playing leaders from the club and eight turned up, so that just shows there are guys there who really want success.
“Nick Murray, the captain, is in his mid-30s and lives in Airport West but drove over for the leadership meeting. There’s serious commitment there, and that’s what you need to get to where you want to get to. I’ve got no doubt that commitment from the group will be there.”