GREG Middleton has been lured to Skipton as senior coach in a boom signing for the battling Central Highlands Football League club.
The Bungaree premiership coach, who led the league to two country championship triumphs in 2014 and 2015, will take over the position currently occupied by Peter Brokenshow and John Northey at season’s end.
Middleton said he had a desire to return to coaching next year, but had wrestled with the notion of competing against the Demons.
However, a chance meeting with a member from Skipton snowballed and eventually led to Middleton and the club agreeing to terms for 2017.
“It’s a massive challenge, which is what I was looking for. I think a position like this is going to test my coaching ability, every aspect of it,” Middleton told The Courier.
“It’s completely different to walking into a side that’s ready-made or a reasonable list that you can mould to sort of suit yourself.
“This is really starting from scratch. That sort of really intrigued me and interested me and I guess after wining one (a premiership) at Bungaree, an option like that was probably more interesting to me.”
Middleton said in his discussions with members of the Skipton committee they mentioned the loss to the community it would be if something bad ever happened to the club.
“They were desperate to be part of the Central Highlands (league) and that’s what really appealed to me,” Middleton said.
“They know their options aren’t great anywhere else, they know they have to change and they probably came in a little bit blasé from the Lexton Plains and haven’t been professional enough.
“They are willing to take risks and change and they are looking for someone to direct them and help them.”
Middleton will continue in his current assistant’s role with Bungaree until the end of the Demons’ campaign.
Skipton president Andrew Bodman said the luring of Middleton was a “great get” for the club.
“It’s great to have a quality coach tied down at this early stage and allows us to prepare properly for 2017,” Bodman said.
“We have a lot of work to do as a club and obviously (Greg) has his commitments with Bungaree which will be his priority and so they should be, but it allows us to hit the ground running more for next season.”
Bodman said Brokenshow and Northey weren’t seeking reappointment for next year and that there wasn’t any animosity from the pair towards Middleton’s appointment.
Brokenshow and Northey took on the job in a joint capacity from interim coaches Tyrone Ross and Kiernan Molloy, which were appointed following the mid-season sacking of Adam Brookshaw in 2015.
After the abolition of the Lexton Plains competition, where it was a perennial powerhouse, Skipton joined the CHFL for the 2011 season and has not reached a senior finals series since.
In the opening 13 rounds of 2016, the Emus have won just one match and sit 16th on the ladder ahead of Saturday’s clash with Newlyn.