Premiership coach Michael Searl has committed to another term in charge of Springbank.
Searl, who joined forces with Nick Couch to take the Tigers to the 2016 Central Highlands Football League flag, has confirmed he will go again next year.
But Couch’s future at the helm and as a player remains in doubt, with the onballer unsure of his living and working arrangements in 2017.
Searl said he would like to continue the role in a joint capacity if Couch decides to stand aside.
“That would be my preferred option,” Searl told The Courier.
“I felt that I’ve still got a lot of improvement to do as a coach. To do one year, I almost don’t think would give myself the best chance to continue my development.”
With Couch unlikely to continue, the club is expected to explore its options for a joint coach internally. However, Searl said he would be open to someone from outside the club joining as his sidekick.
“If the right combination was there, you’d say ‘let’s go for it’. Someone with a bit of experience might be interested,” he said.
The Tigers will head into season 2017 looking to become the first team in the league’s history to win three-straight senior premierships.
Springbank is one of five clubs to achieve back-to-back flags in the CHFL. Ballan did it in 1980-81, Hepburn twice in 1985-86 and 2004-05, Beaufort in 1995-96 and Dunnstown in 1998-99. The Tigers also achieved the feat in 2000-01.
The 31-year-old Searl, who confirmed he was keen to play on next year, said with the Springbank reserves also winning the grand final this year, the future was promising.
“That just shows the depth we’ve got and we can be a real force again,” he said.
Searl arrived at Tigerland for the 2015 season and took charge of the team – with Couch – following that year’s success against Gordon in the decider.
The tall defender made his name with the North Ballarat Roosters, which he joined in 2003 after graduating from the club's Rebels program. He spent 10 seasons on the Roosters' list over two stints to finish with 143 Victorian Football League games and two premierships.
Meanwhile, key forward Paul McMahon has taken out a second-straight Springbank senior best and fairest award.