After a few years away from club land, Steve Wildschut will return to the coaches box in 2017 after being appointed the Morningside Football Club Senior Coach.
Wildschut, who has spent the last two years as the AFL Queensland Coaching and Volunteer Education Manager, said the time was right to throw his hat back in the ring.
“I feel like I’m more ready than ever to go back and coach community footy. The last 10 years especially has changed my perspective in coaching, I’ve learnt and grown a great deal, I’ve learnt about myself, so now was the perfect time,” he said.
Once that decision was made, the next piece of the puzzle was finding a home, and Morningside immediately caught his eye.
“It’s the right fit in terms of the football club for me, and I feel I’m the right fit for the football club as well,” he said.
“When playing or coaching against them over my journey, it is a club I had the utmost respect for. You can see from afar the values, traditions and cultures they exhibit, and that drew me to the footy club.
“They are set up for success, they have got really good people in roles behind the scenes, so from that point of view they are primed to make a significant charge next year and I’m looking forward to it.”
Wildschut’s football résumé is extensive. His coaching journey started at Zillmere, before taking over as senior coach at Aspley. He was the Woodville Torrens Development Manager in the SANFL, worked with Port Adelaide in a recruiting and talent ID role, and was an assistant coach with Brisbane Lions NEAFL team from 2013-2015.
That’s why he believes he is more even more equipped now than he was at Aspley a decade ago, the last time he was a senior coach.
“I’ve learnt more about myself, and learnt more about managing people from learning more about myself,” Wildschut said.
“Being exposed to a lot of the education and development streams through the AFL, learning different skillsets, being involved in various coaching positions, all of those things combined sees me in a better place now.”
So what is his ethos? What type of coach can we expect next year?
“I’m a people person, and very much a development type coach. The scoreboard and ladder positions take care of itself on the backend of me developing,” he said.
When Wildschut walks through the doors of Jack Esplen Oval, he walks into a proud and successful club.
That comes with its fair share of expectations though. It’s an environment where the best is demanded, not asked for.
“Initially it excites me and I’m challenged by it. I look forward to the expectation, which I think is realistic. They are set up behind the scene for success, have a good list, they may have had a hiccup last year, but now are primed and ready to go. That excites me,” he said.
No doubt Wildschut’s head is spinning right now with a lengthy to-do list before pre-season, but there are a few things he wants to get stuck into immediately.
“There are a lot of things to get in place and they are all of equal billing. I need to organise and meet the current coaching staff, I need to talk to the existing playing group and retain everybody, and at the same time look to bring some recruits into the football club, while working through training dates, game plan, ball movement. That’s what is ahead of me at the moment,” he said.
While the Panthers haven’t set a pre-season date, most QAFL clubs will return to the track in mid-November.
By Andrew Wiles