Club has ‘fire in belly’ says new Wanderers coach

Tim EdmundsGreat Southern Herald
Wanderers captain Tim Fitzgerald will be a significant loss to the club.
Camera IconWanderers captain Tim Fitzgerald will be a significant loss to the club. Credit: Caitlyn Fitzgerald.

Newly appointed Katanning Wanderers league coach Ryan Flugge believes there will be no issue motivating his players aiming to bounce back next year from the heartbreak of grand final defeat.

Club stalwart Flugge was announced as the club’s new league coach late last week, replacing Mark Pinney at the helm.

Three months on from Wanderers’ heartbreaking eight-point grand final defeat to a barnstorming Boddington regarded as one of the greatest upsets in country football history, Flugge said the club had “plenty of fire in the belly”.

But the Wanderers will have to contend with some significant player losses, most notably last season’s Leo Graham medallist and former Hawthorn rookie Kade Stewart, who will return to South Fremantle in the WAFL.

Captain Tim Fitzgerald has returned to Victoria leaving a giant hole in the Wanderers side.

Flugge, a born and bred Katanning local, has played more than 200 club games and has held various club positions, including colts coach and committee member, said both players leave the club with well wishes.

“You can’t replace a Leo Graham medallist in Kade but we wish him good luck in returning to the WAFL and hopefully he gets redrafted,” he said.

“Tim has been here for 10 years and has been an integral part of our club so he will also be a massive loss.”

Flugge said despite the player losses, finals were still very much on the club’s agenda with local youth likely to be injected into the squad.

“There is still a fair bit of motivation in the players, the grand final loss certainly puts a bit of fire in the belly,” he said. “We still have the calibre of players and finals is every club’s goal.”

In announcing Flugge’s appointment, the club said they were excited by the vision of their new coach.

“Ryan has a clear direction in his new role and is ready to encourage our strong base of youth into senior football and ultimately win a flag,” the statement read.

Pre-season training is expected to start in February.

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