Panthers sticking the course

Mitch Fino (Jacob Pattison)331334_07

Tara Murray

Melton South is sticking to the plan despite the departure of co-coach Jason Hamilton during the Ballarat Football League bye break.

Hamilton made the call to move on after being told he wasn’t in the club’s future plans, leaving Ryan Hoy as the Panthers sole coach.

Hoy said it had been tough on the playing group, but they continue to stick together.

“We have to move on,” he said. “They are gutted as they had a good relationship with Jason.

“I heard the news about Jason but decided to stay. I had brought in five or six blokes to the club and I couldn’t leave them behind.

“We’ll look to keep working hard at the back end of the season and try and get something out of it.”

The Panthers are yet to win a match this season, with an average losing margin of more than 100 points.

Having lost several of their top players in the off season and then with a number of injuries it was always going to be tough for the side.

Hoy said the playing group’s spirits were still really good despite the nature of the season so far.

“The vibe is still good,” he said. “We had a pool session last night [Tuesday] and we had 40 blokes come down.

“Most of the players have been around the club their whole lives. Not much phases them.”

Hoy said the departure of Hamilton was a speed hump in the journey, not a stop sign.

He said the focus on giving the younger guys opportunities would continue.

“I’ll look to add a few things I believe that might need to be done going forward,” he said.

“We worked well together with the same coaching style. I won’t go away from what we set out to do at the start of the season.”

Hoy said they would continue to play the young kids with another two under-17s set to get their chance this week.

He said the young talent in the group was one of the massive positives out of the season so far.

“We’re going to play guys who will be senior footballers for years to come,” he said.

“There’s definitely a lot of young talent at the club. I’ve coached under-19s, I’ve coached Dane Swan, Brendan Fevola and Aaron Edwards.

“I’ve never seen such a young group connected to a club. The club has so much untapped potential, it’s about making sure they have the right coaching.

“They are under no illusions where we’re at. They brought in for the next two to three years and so have the recruits.”

Hoy said for the group the second half of the season the scoreboard is irrelevant, it’s about focusing on the individual growth of players and the group overall.

The Panthers this Saturday are on the road against Bacchus Marsh, which is coming off its first win of the season.