Trewhella re-signs with the Gorillas

While 2015 is still alive and kicking, Wilston Grange has locked away a key piece of the 2016 puzzle, with Matt Trewhella agreeing to coach the QAFL side next year.

“I’ve seen such an enormous amount of growth in the club, and in individuals so far. It was never a decision of if I would go somewhere else,” Trewhella said.

“My involvement with the club, the players, the new rooms, and all of that, I thought why leave now when there is so much happening around the corner.”

But, it wasn’t as simple as saying I’ll do it. Half way through the year, Trewhella was unsure whether he would be able to commit to another season.

“I met the club during the year. I wasn’t sure if I could do it again, which was to do with my job, and where I wanted to take my career; so I got on the front foot and put it out there,” he said.

“As the year went on, in July I met with Kris Jahnke, who said the club wanted to keep me. We put a deadline of August 1 on it.

“As it turned out, I wasn’t going to be moving anywhere with work or taking a different role, so this was something I couldn’t not see through until the end of 2016 at least.”

Having connections with three senior clubs over his career, I asked Trewhella whether he felt most connected with the Gorillas.

“The short answer is yes,” he said.

“I won a flag at both my other clubs, so the lure of going back to play with South Barwon was strong, but it is a totally different feel at the moment. I feel like I’m a brother to some of these guys, like a best mate to some of these guys, so connected that it’s not just about football anymore; it’s about livelihood and relationships.

“That is so much more than football. Football gives you the ability and environment to have all those things. The thought of leaving all my mates didn’t sit well with me. I have put a lot of effort into these guys and they have given me a lot of effort, it just wouldn’t be right.”

No doubt about it, the Gorillas, who play their first final in 26 years this Saturday, have flourished under Trewhella; but it isn’t a one-way street. He has also been able to hone his craft while in charge of the red, white and blue.

“From day one I was driving some simple standards. Things like body language, effort, rehab, all the things you can control. I was able to build from there, putting my own spin on things developing game plan, coaches, and stuff like that. Going to the Lions Academy, having the exposure to Nathan Clarke as a mentor. It’s all helped me be the coach I am today,” he said.

“I’ve grown with the club, and I think the club has grown with me.”

At the half waypoint on the year, Trewhella found himself coaching from the sidelines due to a foot injury, a time that changed his outlook on things completely.

“I learnt more in the month than I had in two years. I learnt a lot about match day coaching, my temperament in the box, and my temperament as a coach,” he said.

“I learnt to take a back step, and let the guys on the sideline do their role. I didn’t want to come in and take over because then when I leave, they didn’t get anything out of it. I was doing rotations for a month. I didn’t want to disrupt the box.

“There are now so many aspects of being a playing coach that I have learned to fill now, because of that experience.”

Despite such a successful 2015 to date, and 2016 now being locked in, the goals don’t change.

“No matter what happens, the goals have to be the same, and they cant fluctuate,’ Trewhella said.

“We revisited our strategy this year, and tweaked top four to top three, but apart from that not much changes.

“It’s about getting 30 games into 10-15 young guys. Growing coaches at junior level, and having that organic system, where people can develop themselves and move through the system, whether they are players, coaches, or volunteers.”

“Our strategy was always, and still is to win a flag in 2016.”

Wilston Grange takes on the Western Magpies in a Qualifying final this Saturday, 2:00pm, at Yeronga.

By Andrew Wiles@andrewjwiles

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