Shepparton Swans and its senior coach Justin George have parted ways at the midway point of the season.
The winless Goulburn Valley League side signed George in October last year, with the former West Coburg under-19 coach travelling from Melbourne for trainings and games.
But Swans president Richard Bell said both parties decided to cut ties this week.
‘‘The travel and his work and family was finally taking its toll I think more than any of us ever expected, he drives up three times a week and we agreed that he will step down,’’ Bell said.
‘‘It’s been a tough road for all of us, but he’s got a young family and he’s pretty high profile at work, he’s been fantastic for us and we accept for us and him it’s the right decision.’’
Tomorrow’s match against Shepparton will have assistant coaches Chris Burke and Romain Grenville take charge from the sidelines alongside assistant playing-coach Chris Cullinan, who will lead on the field.
Burke was interim coach at Princess Park for a period in 2016 when Hayden Best stepped down for personal reasons.
Bell said the Swans expected to announce a permanent replacement next week, aiming for a more long-term candidate to add stability after a host of coaching changes in recent years.
Best replaced premiership coach Brett Warburton for the 2015 season, followed up by a one-year stint from Paul Griffiths last year.
‘‘That is the issue and I guess we’re aware of that and hopefully able to have our next appointment to be a longer standing one,’’ Bell said.
‘‘Justin had a two-year contract, but that just hasn’t worked.’’
Burke said the team tasked with the job tomorrow would be more than capable of continuing what George started this year.
‘‘Chris (Cullinan) is great, he’s a do-as-I-do-not-as-I-say leader and puts it out on the park and has a great rapport with the playing group,’’ he said.
‘‘Romain is a bit more technical and he’s got the unfortunate luxury of being on the sidelines (after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament last year) and viewing the game from there.’’