SEBASTOPOL Vikings coach Corey Smith has rejected overtures from other clubs to remain at the State League 3 club, saying he has plenty of unfinished work ahead of him.
After two years essentially ruined by the pandemic, Smith said he owed it to the Vikings to continue the job he started as the clubs looks to continue its promotion push from State League 3.
Smith said while there was always interest in moving to higher grades, his loyalty lay with Sebastopol, and if things go to plan, the Vikings would have their own opportunities to push into highers grades of their own in coming years.
IN OTHER NEWS:
He said the loyalty, camaraderie and support the club had shown him made it an easy choice to remain with the Vikings.
"The main goal is retain and and build on what we've been working towards the last few years," he said.
"It has been hard to get a flow on but one thing the pandemic has reiterated is that sporting clubs of all eevels provide a outlet for people in the community.
"It's the way of helping athletes mental health. I can;t wait until we get community based activities up and running again."
Smith said he saw the Vikings as his own club.
"I met my fiance there, most of my close friends in Ballarat are from the club. When i first moved to Ballarat, it was where I ended up and I've always felt very comfortable, it's a great environment."
Sebastopol Vikings president Rod Oppenhuis said after disjointed years, the club was keen to give its leadership a chance to see what it could achieve.
"I've felt for all the coaches, it must be so hard to keep on going under such trying circumstances," he said.
"The environment of sport is changing so quickly. Three years we signed a three-year deal, no-one could know what was ahead.
"This is a another handshake deal, that's the way we do business and we're happy for that to continue."
Oppenhuis said the club saw Smith's inclusiveness as one of his many key strengths.
"We don't claim to be an NPL side, but we provide an inclusive environment from our local level juniors through to our State League Three seniors," he said.
"It's our main strength, we've got a good culture at the club and it's shone through in my time as president over the last seven or eight years Corey still hasn't finished what he started due to the issues we've had with COVID. He has a strong loyalty to his playing group and is very knowledgeable and we've got a terrific working relationship."
Smith said the club would finalise the full coaching line-up for in coming weeks.