Lionel Proctor says he is honoured to continue his family’s rich legacy at the Fitzroy Stars following his appointment as senior coach for the 2021 season.
The most decorated player in the club’s history, Proctor won the NFNL Division 2 best and fairest in 2008 and 2012, was a five-time club best and fairest and captained the Stars between 2008 and 2015 – including to consecutive Division 2 grand finals in 2013 and 2014.
Speaking to NFNL.org.au, Proctor said his strong family ties to the club were a major contributing factor to taking on the coaching role.
“It’s means a hell of a lot. The club has been a big part of my life,” Proctor said.
“Now I give back to the club which has given so much to me the past 11 years.
“We’re a family club, I’ve watched a lot of my uncles and cousins play when I was younger. To be able to play there for so long and to coach them now is an honour.”
Proctor takes the coaching reins from former Essendon star Dean Rioli, who did not coach the Stars in an official match after stepping aside due to work commitments following the cancelled 2020 season.
With COVID-19 restrictions now easing in Victoria, Proctor said the playing group was beginning to come back together as they prepare for the return of football in 2021.
Prior to the latest easing of restrictions, the Stars playing group had been training in smaller groups, as per government guidelines, to ensure they maintained their fitness.
“The fellas have been doing their own thing and their own training,” Proctor said.
“The boys are gonna catch up Wednesday nights and we’re gonna try and get a couple of sessions in before the Christmas break.”
Proctor said the inconsistencies that have plagued the Stars on the field in recent seasons will need to be addressed in 2021.
A perennial Division 2 finalist between 2012 and 2017, the club has missed the finals in each of the past two seasons.
In 2019 the Stars finished sixth on the ladder, with a 7-1-8 record.
However, the season did end on a major positive, with the reserves winning the club’s first football premiership in the NFNL.
“The main thing is to be consistent in our effort with our attack on the ball and our pressure,” Proctor said.
Proctor predicts the Stars will boast a younger side than in recent seasons, but said the club was confident it would be up to the task in an expanded Division 2 competition that will feature 10 teams in 2021.
“We’ll have plenty of run and plenty of pressure. With young teams once they get up and going, they are pretty hard to stop,” he said.