CLUNES has turned to a favourite son as part of a long-range plan to win the Central Highlands Football League premiership.
The Magpies have appointed Jason Hill as coach for the next two seasons, with the option of a third on the table.
This will be Hill’s second stint as senior coach of the club, having shared the role with Owen Weatherley in 2004 and 2005 when the Magpies were beaten in the grand final by Hepburn on both occasions.
The 2004 Geoff Taylor Medallist, who won a flag with Clunes in 1997, is preparing for his third year back at his home club after time away with Moama, in Queensland and with Carngham-Linton.
Hill, now 35, said there was a definitive three-year plan in front of the senior team, which was based heavily around long-term success.
“We would love to play in a final next year, as everybody does. We think we can achieve that. The year after we realistically want to finish top four and re-evaluate from there,” Hill said.
“We want to win a premiership in that third year.”
Hill said he would look at the option of a third year in the top job after the initial two seasons in charge.
“I’ve definitely committed to two seasons and we will take it from there and see who is best to lead the club into the next phase after that. If things are going well, we will exercise that and both take up that third year.”
Hill’s appointment comes after the shock resignation of Justin Johns shortly after agreeing to another year at the helm.
Clunes president John Bedwell said Johns’ exit and Hill’s appointment had helped establish a clearer path forward for the club.
Bedwell said with a solid game plan already in place, some depth within the juniors and a few key recruits during the off-season the Magpies could reach their goal of playing finals — up from 12th this year — in 2014.