by Bryce Eishold reporting for Latrobe Valley Express. Originally published by Latrobe Valley Express on 23rd August 2018. Featured image taken from article published by Latrobe Valley Express.

Steve Hazelman has resigned as coach of the Gormandale Football Club, two seasons after taking on the top job because he “didn’t want the club to fold”.

Hazelman delivered the news to the club’s members on Saturday night during its annual vote count, citing his family and a need for a shift in direction for the club as his motives.

The 36-year-old joined the club last year and gave the club a guarantee of two years along with senior players – Joey Colaciello, Al Jenkin, Chris Potalej, Daniel Domallie, Doug Grinning and Daniel Goldchick – who signed on at the same time.

“I’ve been coaching for two years and I think the club needs a new voice, a fresh voice and some new ideas,” Hazelman said.

“While our win-loss ratio hasn’t been what we were after, I think we’ve made some inroads as a club but it’s time for a new person to come in and take over now.” The father of three faced an uphill battle since commencing his tenure with several of his key players missing eight or more games this year due to injury.

While he denied his resignation had anything to do with the extensive injury list, he admits the club’s on-field performance took a beating as a result of injury this season – particularly given the club was without a strong midfield for most of the season.

The Tigers finished the season eighth on the North Gippsland ladder, registering just four wins and 14 losses.

“We didn’t play one game this year with our full side in unfortunately.” But Hazelman plans to stick around at the club despite his resignation as senior coach, with Hazelman’s right-hand man, amateur boxer Jarrod Zuelkhe named as his replacement.

Speaking on his success at the helm during a turbulent time at the club, Hazelman said his decision to resign was “well thought out” after several conversations with the club in the lead up to the final home and away round.

“I said I wouldn’t leave unless I could help them find a replacement coach that was suitable to the role … I didn’t want to just get anyone, I wanted to get the right person,” Hazelman said.

Hazelman’s highlights include leaving the top position with 61 players on the senior list and a thirds side which the club established this season for the first time in three years.

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