Nick O’Brien has committed to helping his old club Carngham-Linton lift itself out of the doldrums of the Central Highlands Football League.
The former Essendon player, who has returned to the Bombers to play in their VFL side in 2017, has nominated the Saints as his home club for next season.
O’Brien grew up playing for Carngham-Linton and has recently been involved in its search for a new senior coach, with the position still vacant.
The Saints have been hunting a replacement to Aaron Braeckmans after he confirmed he would not seek reappointment after the team’s winless 2016 campaign.
While O’Brien hopes to play at least a couple of games with Carngham-Linton next year, he also plans to offer support to the Saints outside match day.
“Naturally, the VFL will be my priority, but for VFL-listed players, there’s generally an option to be able to play during the bye or things like that throughout the year, so it will be good to be able to do that for Carngham,” O’Brien told The Courier.
“Outside of even a playing sense, I’d still like to be able to get back and help. Whether it’s help out with some training or with some of the younger guys and potentially some of the coaches as well.
“I’m definitely more than happy to help pass on as much knowledge, information and dialogue as I can throughout the year with the coach from the stuff I’ve learnt through AFL and state league footy.”
The 23-year-old has rejoined Essendon – he played 14 AFL games with the Bombers after being drafted there in 2011 – following a standout season with SANFL side Woodville-West Torrens. During 2016, O’Brien finished runner-up in the Magarey Medal and played in a losing grand final side.
He is set to be part of the Bombers’ VFL calculations next year, but still harbours an ambition to return to the top level of the sport.
Carngham-Linton president Sam Richardson has been working tirelessly on finding the club’s next senior coach.
While still on the lookout for a new leader nearly two months after the CHFL grand final, Richardson says it’s important not to rush such an important appointment.
“The club is really stable, it’s really financial, we’ve got a good committee,” Richardson said.
“We have obviously got a really proud history in our previous leagues and we don’t like where we are. We’re not happy with it, it’s not where we’ve been over a long period of our time and we want to get back up and about.”
Richardson said the club is open to a two-year deal for a new coach, which can be either playing or non-playing.
Interested applicants can contact Richardson on 0418 856 047.