Champion footballer steps up to become coach

Sean O’Neill

Sean O’Neill

COLAC IMPERIALS Football Club officials have appointed their own Jack Mahoney Medallist Sean O’Neill as their new senior coach.

The star midfielder takes on the role from Russell Whiteford who has led the club for the past three seasons.

Fellow midfielder James Morgan has taken on the Imps’ assistant coaching role, held by O’Neill and Kyle Roberts this year.

“It’s something I’m really looking forward to taking on,” O’Neill said.

“Morgs is one of the smartest footy brains I’ve come across and we both live and breathe footy, we’ve both had success over the years and we’re hoping to create a winning culture that everyone buys into,” he said.

O’Neill, a former Bellarine league premiership player with Newcomb, has spent the past three seasons with the Imps after crossing with fellow Geelong-based recruits Morgan, Whiteford and Tom McKay in 2011, leading the team to a grand final.

O’Neill built a reputation as one of the competition’s best rebounding defenders in the past two years before a shift into the midfield and an assistant coaching role allowed him to take his game to new heights this year, winning the league’s best-and-fairest award.

“I’ve played in a lot of sporting clubs and the Imps is easily the best one, it’s well run and it’s a really good environment to be a part of,” O’Neill said.

“We’ve been appointed for one year, but we’re in it for the long term, I’m really excited about the group we’ve got,” he said.

“If we can develop our own and add one or two key players we’ll be up there again.”

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