The timing couldn’t have been better to return to senior coaching according to Jonathan Manzoney who will take the reins at Montmorency in 2023.
Manzoney was appointed in October after spending three years at the club as an assistant coach to Garry Ramsay who stood down following the 2022 campaign.
This will be his first senior coaching position since his two-year span at Hurstbridge between 2013-2014. He’s also held development coaching roles at the Northern Knights and this season, coached Montmorency’s under-18 Girls side to the premiership.
Following Ramsay’s departure, Manzoney decided to put his hat in the ring for the top job, saying timing was everything in the decision.
“It was always the plan to come back to senior coaching, it was just that my kids were going through school and they’re the most important thing to me,” he said.
“So, it was just about finding the right timing for that, they’re doing Year 12 next year, they’re going to be studying a lot so they’re not going to be needing me as much, they’re going to be having their heads in the books.”
His predecessor Garry Ramsay stood down after four years with the Magpies. He helped the club break their five-year finals drought in 2019 before taking the club to the preliminary final this season.
Manzoney first developed a partnership with the two-time premiership coach during his time at Panton Hill. He played over 200 games at the Redbacks, playing under Ramsay for most of those years, before joining him in the coaches box in the late 2000’s.
He came across with Ramsay in 2019 when he was appointed as Montmorency’s senior coach and was also an assistant under him in the NFNL’s successful 2019 senior representative triumph against the GFNL.
Manzoney paid tribute to Ramsay, saying his efforts in the coaching field as well as his friendship had a positive influence on himself and the club’s he has contributed too.
“He’s been very empowering for me since I’ve been at Montmorency, allowing me to have a voice and encouraging me to come up with plans, thoughts and practices,” he said.
“Just watching him the way he goes about it is the way I probably learn the best. He’s awesome to work with, I couldn’t speak highly enough of him and he’s an awesome person who I’m very lucky to have in my life.”
He also understood Ramsay’s departure from Montmorency Park after 2022 marked his 15th consecutive year as senior coach of an NFNL side, his 20th in total.
“Coaching’s a tough gig, it does take you away from your family and your friends outside of football,” he said.
“Sometimes we all just need a bit of a break; he just wants some new challenges in life, and I encourage him to do it.”
The Magpies fell short of a first grand final appearance in nine years after bowing out of the 2022 campaign in the preliminary final following a third-place finish.
Despite missing out on a drought-breaking premiership, their under-19’s side produced the club’s highlight of the year, coming from fifth spot to defeat Heidelberg in an entertaining decider. Montmorency have now won two of the last three under-19’s flags.
Manzoney believes the young talent coming in will not only offset senior players who have already departed such as Lin Jong but will also help the side remain a competitor in the top flight.
“Our under-19s program has been very successful over the past five years and it’ll be really important to capitalise on that,” he said.
“It’s going to take time to get some more experience into the younger playing group and some more experience about when to do what, whether it comes down to their training loads or in-game practices.
“The things we really need to focus on is being consistent in our positive behaviours. It’s not just a coaching thing, it’s a club ethos and the players have got to learn to take it on board as well if they want to step forward and be part of hopefully something successful here.”