Brayden Shaw says he is looking forward to his foray into coaching following one of the most decorated playing careers in recent NFNL history.
Shaw was announced as co-coach of Hurstbridge’s men’s football team for the 2022 season back in August.
He will work alongside Jarrod Tilley, who is set to continue in his fourth year at the helm.
The duo certainly doesn’t need any introducing.
Shaw and Tilley are brothers-in-law and played alongside each other at both Bundoora and Hurstbridge, sharing premiership success at the Bridges in 2016.
Speaking to NFNL.org.au, Shaw said he was excited about continuing his journey with one of his closest mates, having previously served as an assistant to Tilley in recent seasons.
“We’re excited to coach this group, which we absolutely love,” Shaw said.
“We had a good chat at the end of the season and where we thought we can change the dynamic a bit and bring some new ideas and fresh ideas.
“We went to the playing group and also our leaders to see what they thought of the dynamic and if they thought it would work. We got the tick of approval from those guys and the respected leaders of the club.”
Hurstbridge has hit the ground running following an eighth-place finish in the shortened 2021 Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 season.
The club began its pre-season campaign more than three weeks ago and has been active in strengthening its playing list for the upcoming campaign.
Ex-North Heidelberg and Diamond Creek big man Michael Florance will fill the void left by Jamie Smith in the ruck.
Northern Bullants goal kicking midfielder Sunny Brazier will list Hurstbridge as his nominated home club for the 2022 season.
The Bridges have also signed Doncaster utility Nick Kent, brothers Liam and Dayne Middleton from Craigieburn, Banyule premiership player Jacob Smith and Diamond Creek’s Ty Franks.
“We really got on the front foot early and recognised at the end of the season we were falling short,” Shaw said.
“We were pretty ravaged with injury last year, especially with key players like Bailey Jordan and Cooper Perrin.
“We made an effort to get all of our boys on board first so we got a feel of who was staying and then we could work out what we needed to chase.
“We’ve obviously recruited pretty heavily (with) some really solid players who are going to come in and help our list and then obviously fill some of the gaps we have.
“(It will) fill our depth and help out our twos as well, not only make it a strong senior 22, but a strong club.
“We don’t want to be known as just a strong senior club. We want to be known as a strong club overall.”
Shaw said he was equally excited about what the club’s emerging youngsters could do in the future.
He said the likes of Ethan Taylor, Will Cookson and Angus Butterfield were ready to make their mark at senior level and believes 2021 best and fairest Mitch Dale can take his game to an even higher level.
“I was really proud of him last year and what he achieved,” Shaw said.
“He put his head down and bum up and worked extremely hard and completely took the competition by storm as far as I was concerned. We were really proud of his efforts.”
“I wouldn’t put it past him to go to another level again.”
Shaw said the club was under no illusions as to how competitive Division 1 would be in 2022 but was confident the Bridges could work their way up the ladder.
“We’re not unrealistic or anything like that and we know where we’re at as a football club and what we need to do to improve,” he said.
“We just want to put ourselves in a good position and play some really consistent football.
“I think where we’ve probably let ourselves down over the last few years is our consistency.
“We just want to get that consistent base back, push up the ladder a bit and hope for a finals spot at the end of the year.”