St Mary’s Salesian AFC is pleased and excited to announce an innovative coaching structure for its men’s section for 2022.
Erwin Leyden will serve the club in a dual role, as senior coach and as mentor to Nick Abbott with a view to Abbott assuming the post in 2023.
“In VAFA circles, it’s a pioneering scheme,” said club president Greg Baum. “But as we’ve all just seen, it worked spectacularly well for Melbourne in the AFL, and knowing the quality of the people involved, we are certain that this is the right path for us to take at this time. We can’t wait for next season.”
Erwin Leyden needs no introduction at St Mary’s; he is very much one of ours. He had a decorated coaching career at Old Melburnians before two previous stints at St Mary’s. In 2017, he guided the club to C grade, the highest standing the club has reached in its long history.
“I’m excited to be involved again,” Leyden said. “The club is buzzing. It’s a transition year, but we’re not here to make up the numbers. We’re out to win games of footy.”
Nick Abbott is one of the bright new young faces on the VAFA coaching scene. Originally from Geelong, his playing career was cut short by four knee reconstructions. But he has poured his footy energy into coaching engagements in the North Territory, Old Geelong and most recently Collegians.
“I’m incredibly grateful to Erwin for stepping in and coaching for the 2022 season,” he said. “I like the fact that the club is a progressive club and I believe that is just one of the many reasons why it is held in such high regard and is able to field six teams.”