NORTH Ballarat Eagles coach John Marshall has parted ways with his team in a bid to help further develop women’s football.
Marshall said his decision to resign was amicable and all about professional development.
“I’ve spent five years coaching North Ballarat and I think it’s time for someone else to take it on, it’s an opportunity for others to step up,” Marshall said.
“I am open to lots of possibilities. One thing I am interested in is developing pathways for youth girls to senior football.”
In his five years at the Eagles’ helm, Marshall has led the team to four final series in the Victorian Women’s Football League’s north-west division, including two preliminary finals and one grand final.
Marshall said it was an exciting time in women’s football, particularly with the growing popularity of youth girls competitions like in Ballarat. Post-season, Marshall has helped coaching at Redan in the Ballarat Football League youth girls and said the standard of entry teams Bacchus Marsh, Lake Wendouree and Riddells Creek had been impressive and on par with last year’s foundation teams.
Each foundation team had in turn, stepped its game up a notch.
Marshall said AFL Victoria had encouraged him to remain involved with North Ballarat through a league restructure that would help with the establishment of a new state league by 2014.
While Marshall hoped to keep his options open first, he was keen to remain involved in Ballarat football.
Marshall will continue as back-line coach for Fitzroy reserves, which have been promoted to B-grade next season in the Victorian Amateur Football Association.
In summer, Marshall is a rowing coach at Ballarat Clarendon College and, like in football, has sought to move to younger crews after a lengthy stint coaching open divisions.
Marshall said he was ready for a change and enjoyed coaching enthusiastic young athletes.
Meanwhile, half-back flanker Nicole Hildebrand has been named Eagles’ best and fairest.
Hildebrand, who started as an onballer, impressed with her strong overhead marking and flash ball skills.