Ballarat Red Devils drop Leslie as new coach begins to rebuild

BALLARAT Red Devils defender Michael Leslie is on the move.The English import has been told by the Reds he is no longer required.He is one of several players expected to be moved on by new coach Brian Shelley as he looks to rebuild with new high-profile recruits to lift Ballarat into Football Federation Victoria state league one.As well as his playing role, Leslie was also appointed caretaker coach late in 2010 after Dale Harris was sacked.Joe Fedele was then appointed for the 2011 season, with Leslie returning to playing duties.Leslie told The Courier that he had been surprised by the Reds’ decision to release him.However, he said he held no ill-feelings.“It was a bit of a shock to myself, I expected to be playing next year. I thought I had a reasonably good season,” Leslie said.“They were very professional about it though, and handled it very well.”Leslie, who won the 2010 coaches’ award and was named in the club’s best 50 players in history, said he had learnt a lot with the club and was grateful for the opportunities.He has already fielded interest from clubs in Perth and Shepparton and other state league two clubs in Melbourne.“There could possibly be a time when I run out on Trekardo Park wearing another top, which would be weird, but we will just have to see where I end up,” he said.Leslie started at the club in 2009.Meanwhile, 2011 Ballarat senior coach Joe Fedele will take a break from coaching next year. Fedele chose not to re-apply for the role with the Red Devils.