NEW CASEY coach Rohan Welsh says a strong working relationship between the Demons and Scorpions will be his main priority heading into 2013.
Welsh, appointed to the position on Monday, said it was crucial both clubs worked closely to make the alignment a success.
“[I’ve got] to try and get the amalgamation between Melbourne and Casey – that’s going to be the real challenge, making sure everyone’s on the same page,” he said.
“Obviously for me, early doors, it’s about learning the game style that Neeldy (Mark Neeld) wants to play and it’s important that we try and implement that as much as we can.
“In saying that, I’ve got to reward the players at Casey, who are doing the hard yards and doing well. And then [I’ve got to] keep the guys here [at Melbourne] on their toes. I think that’s an important part of it – making sure they earn their spot.”
Welsh said the process behind him becoming coach “happened pretty quickly”, but he added he was really looking forward to the challenge.
“I spoke to the guys last week and I had a meeting with Neeldy yesterday (Monday) and with the Melbourne guys,” he said.
“They’ve obviously done their background. I was involved with AFL Victoria for 12 years, so my background in development and under 18s footy is where it’s at. Casey has put me on as a part-time employee, so I’ll be their coach, but I’ll come down here [to Melbourne] as often as I can, with my work commitments.
“I’ve spoken to Neeldy already about getting involved at match committee level and where I can see fitting in here. I think it’s only going to benefit, not only the players, but the staff from Casey and here [at Melbourne] as well.”
Welsh said it was a matter of “getting the balance right” between coaching Casey part-time, working with the Demons and continuing his sign-writing business commitments.
“It’s new to me. I’ve always had part-time roles in footy … but as long as the footy club hasn’t got too high expectations of me coming in here and doing all of the work – I think it’s fine,” he said.
“As long as you can get the balance of work and footy right, then I think it’s going to be ok.”
Welsh played 42 matches and kicked 59 goals from 1992-97, but was troubled by serious knee problems during his career.
“I played seven years at Carlton and played in the ’93 grand final and missed ’95, because I did my knee. I’ve still got some great friends at Carlton … and we still catch up, so from that point of view, footy has given me a real balance in life,” he said.
“From there, I was involved in AFL Victoria for 12 years. I started at Calder Cannons as an assistant coach, under Robert Hyde, and then I went from there and coached Oakleigh Chargers in the TAC [Cup] for four years. We won a premiership there in ’06.
“I’ve been coaching Vic Metro in the under 18s for the last four years, so I see this as a real progression forward to VFL level, and to get a bit of an insight in the AFL as well.
“With my coaching career, I’ve gradually moved forward over the years … even some of the coaches I’ve had like Hydey, David Parkin and [Kevin] Sheedy, in [my] early years at Essendon, have really kept me in good stead.
“The exciting time for me is actually being involved in a footy club again. At Metro level, you’re selecting kids from six different clubs and the challenge is to get them together to form a footy team in such a short time.”
Welsh has previously coached Jack Fitzpatrick, James Strauss and Jack Viney in elite junior programs, while he said he had several coaching connections at Melbourne, which would help his transition.
“I knew Neeldy through the TAC [Cup] when he was at [Western] Jets and I know Browny (Leigh Brown) through the work he did with the futures and under 16s at state level,” he said.
“I also know Andy Nichol and Satts (Paul Satterley) from TAC [Cup] and you see a lot of the recruiters at games, so from that point of view, it’s not like I’m walking in, not knowing anyone.
“I know a lot of the development coaches and I think they get a bit of an idea of what sort of coach I am. I think from that point of view, it’s a real step forward and it’s probably good things for both parties.”