CHFL: Hepburn appoints Raak

HEPBURN has gone for a familiar face in its quest to recapture top dog status in the Central Highlands Football League.

The Kookaburras have appointed three time premiership player Clive Raak as senior coach for the 2013 season.

Raak, brother of former Melton coach Marc, retired from playing football in 2009. He was playing coach for Hepburn’s reserves in 2007-2009, including the 2008 premiership year. 

Hepburn president Jason Olver said Raak’s knowledge of the club and the league was important in the appointment.

“We spoke to a whole range of candidates over the last six weeks,” Olver said.

“We took our time to get to a decision because we did not want to rush it. 

“We’ve decided to go with a bloke who knows the club backwards. Because he’s been involved in the league for a decade, and he knows the competition and the opposition. 

“It might look like a simple transition but Raaky has his own ideas on football. There will be subtle changes here and there.

“We might have finished minor premier this year but it’s not good enough to bow out in a preliminary final.” 

Raak was a premiership player with Bendigo league club Castlemaine before joining Hepburn.

In 2005 he kicked 101 goals in 14 matches for the Burras.

While this is his first senior coaching role, Raak was development coach at Melton with his brother.

The 40-year-old will step into the role vacated by Shane Robertson who, in turn, replaced Troy Auld during the season. He said most of the important things that make for a successful football club were already in place at Hepburn.

“We are not going to change things too much,” Raak said.

“We’ll just tinker with a few things. We had a few injuries late this year and we’ve got to manage our playing group a bit better.

“(The selection process) has been a long process and the club was very thorough. What got me over the line I think is I have a very good relationship with the playing group.

“I’ve had meetings with the players and we’re looking forward to starting pre-season in the end of November.”