MELTON South has finally found its senior coach, appointing Coburg assistant coach Mark Pederson to the head role.
After an extensive search that lasted more than four months, the Panthers signed Pederson, 56, on Tuesday.
His appointment comes on the back of a troubled period for Melton South, which has lost a swag of key players since the end of the season.
However, club president Peter Earl feels his club has finally turned a corner after a tumultuous year.
The positive news follows a rough month for Melton South, which lost its captain Matthew Sullivan to Sunbury Kangaroos and appears to have lost the services of gun midfielder Reece Miles to Airport West.
The Panthers finished in 10th position on the Ballarat Football League ladder this year, winning just two of 16 games.
"We've been chasing an experienced coach and we always said we wanted somebody with VFL or AFL experience," Earl said.
"We want somebody that everybody listens to when he speaks, not that previous coaches did not do that, but they had all been former players that developed into coaches."
Pederson replaces club legend Mathew Sutton, who announced he would step down half-way through the 2014 season, citing family and work commitments.
He steered Romsey to a Riddell District Football League premiership in 2011 and has since taken on the role as development coach at Coburg.
Earl said it was a relief to finally appoint a coach, having hit a number of hurdles on the way.
The Panthers had come extremely close to signing Brendan Fevola and a number of other former AFL players including Bret Thornton, Wayde Skipper and Jason Gram.
"He ticks all the boxes that we wanted when looking for somebody to get on board," Earle said.
"He looks at it as a challenge and we're excited to have him on board."
Earl said Pederson had a lot of contacts within local football circles and would look to bring some strong recruits to the club.