Coolangatta signs up new coaches

Footscray VFL legend David Thorpe has completed Coolangatta’s coaching app­ointments for a new season of AFL Queensland domestic competition.

In charge of the men’s team, which has struggled for a number of seasons, is widely travelled Matt Walder, who will pull on the navy blue jumper and play on at the age of 47.

Heading up the women’s campaign is former Footscray (now Western Bulldogs) champion David Thorpe, now 68 but still with a passion for coaching.

Coolangatta president Howard Battye confirmed the latest signings this week.

Thorpe is one of Footscray’s all-time legends who has been running an Australian football academy at Redlands for 20 years.

He inherits a Coolangatta Bluebirds side that won last year’s QWAFL premiership and who have seven players on the Brisbane Lions’ AFLW list. With the Bulldogs from 1965 to 1973 Thorpe won two best and fairests (1968 as a 19-year-old and again in 1971), was runner-up in the best and fairest five other times and was All-Australian in 1972.

Thorpe switched to Richmond in 1974 and played in a premiership side that year.

But now he’s focused entirely on the burgeoning national women’s competition and continuing to produce AFLW-ready players from Coolangatta.

“I want to develop as many young girls as I can to be drafted,” Thorpe said.

“This AFLW is going to be huge and at long last girls who play the game have somewhere to aspire to and get drafted from the QWAFL competition.

The Coolangatta Bluebirds plan to run seven teams this season – five in junior girls, one in the QWAFL and another in the second-tier QWFA.

Meanwhile Walder acknowledges the task he has to lift the once-mighty Blues men back into contention.

Meanwhile Walder acknowledges the task he has to lift the once-mighty Blues men back to where they were.

Walder is with the Blues after a lengthy coaching and playing career that started in 1986 in Port Macquarie.

After stints around the backblocks of NSW Walder ended up last year as head coach of Morningside in the QAFL.

“I understand the club’s recent history but I understand that history was pretty sound at one stage,” Walder said.

“We’re about to turn it all around and be a stronger team in a higher division than we will be this year.”

The Blues are this year in the revamped QFA Division 2 competition, basically a third-tier competition, alongside other Coast clubs Robina and Coomera.


By Terry Wilson,

Courtesy Gold Coast Bulletin

Our Supporters