Sport

Ashley ready to Byrne trail

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August 30, 2017

Outgoing Echuca Football Club president Brett Stevens.

Outgoing Echuca Football Club president Brett Stevens is confident the club is heading in the right direction with club legend Ashley Byrne poised to take over the presidency for next year.

The Echuca premiership player and coach has the numbers to support his bid for the role as Stevens steps down at November’s annual general meeting.

While the possibility remains another candidate could step up, Stevens said it was a near-certainty Byrne would take the reins.

‘‘He’s certainly our president-elect, but he won’t be officially president until our AGM in November,’’ Stevens said.

‘‘You could say it’s a formality, it’s unlikely anyone would stand against him.

‘‘He’s being worked in now, he joined the committee in July and he’s on board with us now.’’

Stevens announced in May he would not seek the role for next season, with treasurer Jeff Castles also making way.

‘‘We let them know then because we know we needed people to get involved, and out of that Ash organised a group he was confident would support him,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve planned it, because what happens with AGMs is no-one puts their hand up. You have to do something to hand it over.’’

Byrne played in Echuca’s 2001 premiership before stepping up to coach the side to the flag in 2002.

‘‘What Ash brings is a hell of a lot of enthusiasm, and a hell of a lot of contacts,’’ Stevens said.

‘‘He’s a premiership coach, he’s played a lot of footy with us. His kids play football and netball with us, he’s a real club man.

‘‘He’s had two or three years away from the club, and we’re really excited to have him back.’’

Stevens took the top job in 2013, and said he’d loved the experience.

Among many achievements, the appointment of Andrew Briggs as coach stands out as one of the best, Briggs having helped take the club from one win in 2013 to eight in 2016, before a disappointing current season.

‘‘It’s been fantastic, but honestly I reckon I went one year too long, it’s a fair bit of work,’’ he said.

‘‘Back then I had no desire to be president, but we simply couldn’t get one. We’ve made improvements as a club, but there’s certainly more to be made.

‘‘I really enjoyed it for three to four years, and what happens also is people get sick of seeing the same face. I’m a great believer of change; even with Andrew Briggs, he’s done a really good job but a change probably works.

‘‘(Next season at Echuca) will be very different. From a committee point of view it’s good, we’ve got good strong club people on board who will bring fresh ideas.’’

Stevens’ message to club figures was to get involved and help share the load.

‘‘Your enthusiasm wanes, you get burnt out, as simple as that,’’ he said.

‘‘If you had 30 people working hard it wouldn’t be, but that’s not what it’s like. It’s been more like half-a-dozen people doing a lot and others helping here and there.

‘‘We need a better team.’’

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