He guided Heidelberg West’s reserves to a flag in September and now newly appointed senior coach Michael Missen has his sights set on ending another long finals drought.
The Hawks appointed Missen as senior coach in October, one month after he led Heidelberg West’s reserves to the club’s first football premiership since 1966.
He becomes the club’s third senior coach in as many seasons, following the departure of Cam van Florenstein and Gary Cutler at the conclusion of each of the past two seasons.
Missen has enjoyed a long association with Heidelberg West as a player, coach and administrator and said he was humbled and excited by the opportunity to take the reins as senior coach.
“It’s obviously pretty humbling,” Missen told NFNL.org.au.
“For the playing group and the footy club to think I’m the best person to take us forward for the next couple of years is obviously really humbling and just validates what I’ve been about for the last few years and it’s really exciting.”
Missen believes his previous experience at the club has helped him adjust seamlessly into the new role and feels the mood has been positive during the early part of Heidelberg West’s pre-season campaign.
“It’s (the mood of the club) been outstanding really,” Missen said.
“We’ve brought a few guys in that has created a little extra hype and buzz around the club.
“All the players have re-committed. The energy is really strong, and the boys are really excited to get into it and start 2020.”
In a major boost, three-time Division 3 best and fairest Jarryd Coulson has re-signed at Heidelberg Park after attracting major interest from rival clubs.
Missen said retaining Coulson was a major endorsement that the club is heading in the right direction.
“He’s undisputed the best player in the league. He’s won three comp medals,” Missen said.
“When the best player in the league says he wants to stay at your footy club that’s exciting and really validates as a club where we’re going.
As well as retaining the majority of their 2019 list, the Hawks have also snared several prized signings in the off-season.
Among those moving to Heidelberg Park are two-time Reservoir best and fairest Sam McDowell, 2013 Panton Hill premiership midfielder Lloyd Toffolon and former Watsonia and Heidelberg forward Allan Young.
Meanwhile, midfielder Alex Williamson has crossed from the Fitzroy Stars after finishing third in the NFNL Division 2 reserves best and fairest.
The added depth has not only sparked excitement, but also brought an expectation for the Hawks to end their finals drought – which extends back to 1994.
“Having the four boys jump on board and jump on early has really sparked the excitement into the footy club,” Missen said.
“Like every footy club our aim is to play finals.
“With our club we haven’t played senior finals in 20 years, so we’d rather set our goals high and finish short rather than settle for mediocrity.
“We’ll definitely be looking to play finals footy, that’s for sure.”
Missen acknowledged there is significant work to be done over the pre-season for the club to put itself in a position to make a charge for the finals.
“Clarity in our structure behind the ball and our ball movement…those will be the areas that we’ll be focusing on,” Missen said.
Heidelberg West’s 2020 campaign will commence with a home match against Mernda at Heidelberg Park on April 4.