By: Daniel Cencic
The Eastern Football League has appointed Steve Cochrane as senior representative coach for the upcoming WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships.
The former Blackburn and Vermont mentor served as an assistant coach to Brett Moyle in the EFL’s two-point win over the Essendon District Football League last year.
PICTURE: Stuart Milligan
Cochrane is looking forward to guiding the EFL against the Geelong Football League for the number-one ranking at Etihad Stadium in May, where the match will be played as an AFL curtain-raiser to the St.Kilda vs. Collingwood match.
“I love coaching and I love footy and being part of it,” Cochrane said.
“Last year when you’re involved with a group of elite players, it was a fantastic experience and to be able to have the opportunity to head up this time around is fantastic, I’m looking forward to it.”
“The guys put in a great performance (last year), to then being able to have a crack at the number-one spot and be on Etihad is awesome for coaches and players.
“Playing representative football is an honour at any level, but you’d think the Etihad experience would just add to it.”
Cochrane is looking to build a strong following of the interleague program among players throughout the competition.
“I want to come with a program that’s really organised and give the guys a great experience,” he said.
“Not only with Etihad, but playing with some of the best players in the league and really walk away and say that they enjoyed the time that they had with each other and feed that through to the rest of the competition, so in future years it starts to get a bit of a following.
“If we want to be the number-one metropolitan league, we need to start fostering that sort of philosophy and then hopefully making the experience one that people want to jump at, no matter where we’re playing.
“I’ll get some guys around me as well that will hopefully enjoy the experience and make it a lot of fun.”
The newly-appointed EFL coach is under no illusions of the challenge he faces at the selection table with the surplus of talent available.
“It’s going to be difficult but taking a little bit of a different approach, I’m going to study a few tapes first and not just pick the best players, but players that are going to help us win,” Cochrane said.
The Geelong Football League has won its past five interleague encounters, including defeating the Eastern Football League at Kardinia Park in 2016.
“It’s an outstanding league and they’ve got a lot of buy-in with their program,” Cochrane said.
“This is an opportunity for us to really stand up and get our better players on the park, but more importantly, a cohesive team because that’s where modern footy’s gone and just having those dynamics of the team complement each other.”
Despite the Geelong league’s recent dominance, Cochrane is confident the second-ranked EFL can rise to the occasion to claim the coveted top spot.
“I’m sure that if we put our best team forward, we’ll give them a run for their money.”