IT’S set to be an exciting year for the Muswellbrook Cats, with a new coach taking over for both senior teams in 2019.
Following a finals berth last season, the men’s side is looking to kick on under the tutelage of Steve Mullane, who has taken up the head mantle after spending time as an assistant.
He has switched roles with last year’s mentor Brian Scott, who will now be Mullane’s right-hand man as part of succession plan designed to add security to the club’s AFL future.
It’s not his first time stepping into the main job though, having previously managed the Cats’ junior side for a season before leaving for work.
For the women’s team, Megan Kropp has assumed the managerial position after two years of playing with the outfit.
She brings experience from leading teams in other sports, but this is her first foray into being at the helm in Aussie rules football.
And, she’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity, I think the team’s really good,” Kropp said.
“We’ve grown a lot over the last couple of years so we’re looking forward to the chance to build on what work Ken [Garland, former women’s coach] has done and get some wins on the board.”
They have also picked up some newcomers with five girls having already signed up, and Kropp has encouraged others to take part, too.
“We’re always on the lookout for more, anyone that’s interested just come down,” she said.
“It’s lots of fun, it’s something different and it’s well worth just getting involved and seeing what it’s like.”
The men’s side has also snared some extra numbers over the off-season and Mullane is pleased with what he’s seen so far.
“It’s been really good, good numbers, good enthusiasm,” he said.
“We haven’t been doing anything too official or too pedantic so far.
“But, we’re starting to get into the serious stuff now so we’ll build it up from here.”
The club has lost some “experience and talent”, according to the coach.
However, he’s equally confident the injection of youth will bring with it the enthusiasm and pace required to take the next step from last year’s home semi-final.
Both Mullane and Kropp are happy to see the game growing within the community and the latter said she has a fair idea why it’s increasing in popularity.
“The people who play really enjoy it, so everyone is bringing friends in,” she said.
“You want to encourage people to get involved with something you enjoy doing.”
Training for both teams is at 7pm on Thursdays at Weeraman Field – and anyone who is interested is free to join in.