Tassie local Webberley set to lead Devils

THE Tasmanian Devils will have a new coach at the helm in the upcoming season, with Tasmanian native Jeromey Webberley announced as the side’s new head coach. Webberley has AFL experience as a player, and has been coaching the Clarence Roos in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) for the past six seasons. He will lead both the boys and girls sides.

Webberley replaces Cameron Joyce in the role, who is heading north to take up the gig of head coach at the Gold Coast Suns AFL Women’s side. Joyce was the last full time head coach, with Mathew Armstrong stepping in and fulfilling coaching duties in the second half of the season in an admirable display. Armstrong will remain with the club as a regional manager for the south, pairing with Jamie Hayward (North-West) and Nathan Warren (North) to assist Webberley in recruiting and training the best talent the state has to offer.

Picked in the 2009 AFL Draft by the Richmond Tigers, Webberley played 16 games at AFL level after being picked up from the Roos. After his AFL career came to a close, he returned to Clarence in 2015 and was announced as playing coach of the team. During Webberley’s time in the role the side enjoyed a resurgence, with the Roos making the finals every year he has been in the role. The experience at both AFL and TSL level will hold the 33-year-old in good stead, with his time at the Roos a major factor in his selection.

Webberley explained that his time within the TSL system should help him move into the role of coaching the Devils at NAB League level fairly well.

“It’s all about that experience,” Webberley said. “When I first took over (as head coach) it was an older group to be completely honest, and we didn’t quite make it and get the ultimate success.”

“We started a rebuild and started really investing in our youth. I think with my coaching style and personality I am suited to the younger generation and developing players. I’ve experienced not only the highs of footy such as getting drafted but also the lows of injury and getting delisted.”

“There is no doubt my time at Clarence will hold me in really good stead with the age profile of the players at the Devils,” he added.

With the Tasmanian football system now delivering as many talented players as ever, both from the boys and girls systems, Webberley says players such as Lachlan Cowan will be making the Devils an exciting team to watch.

“I was lucky enough to watch him at an intra-club in the South of the state and I thought he was very impressive,” Webberley said.

:He seems like he really wants to work hard and get contest to contest. As an inside-mid, I really liked his tackling pressure and his ferocity at the football.”

Cowan has shown he can be more than just a one-trick pony like many players, with the ability to play multiple positions.

“His ball use when he was at half back was exceptional. He’s got some real potential,” Webberley added.

Having worked with Clarence’s women’s side too, Webberley is also excited for the opportunity to coach some of the best female talent the state has to offer.

With preseason set to kick-off next month, Tassie fans can be rest assured the fate of their football team rests in steady hands, with Webberley’s coaching resume indicating he will be the right man for the job.

Picture credit: Linda Higginson/Solstice Digital

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