Begg looks to youth following coaching reappointment

June 21, 2024 BY

North Geelong Warriors assistant coach Stuart Begg has been elevated to the head coaching role for the rest of 2024. Photo: SUPPLIED

North Geelong’s re-appointment of assistant coach Stuart Begg to the club’s top coaching role comes at an interesting time, as the Warriors work to get off the bottom of the ladder in the next two months.

Begg was announced as the replacement head coach for the rest of the season earlier this month following the departure of former head coach Joey Didulica in mid-May.

He was previously head coach from the start of 2022 until March last year.

The club announced Begg would serve out the rest of the season in the head coaching role on June 7 with the Warriors placed at the bottom (three wins, one draw, 14 losses) of Victorian Premier League 1 (VPL1), but the reappointed coach said the role was not an unfamiliar one.

“There’s been no massive changes since Joey’s departure. I was assistant coach under him anyway, and the process has been relatively the same,” Begg said.

“We’ve been playing some really good football, and we still are now, despite the lack of results.

“I’ve made a few minor changes and have tried to maintain that self-belief in the squad. I see it as very valuable to celebrate the little wins in football, but we’ve missed a few chances and dropped a couple of games due to missed chances.”

North Geelong is slated to next play four of the top five sides in the competition in Western United (2nd), Northcote City FC (3rd), Preston Lions FC (4th) and Bentleigh Greens SC (5th).

The Warriors also fought for 90 minutes in a narrow 3-2 defeat to top-placed Melbourne Victory FC a week ago.

Begg said that as a result of several senior departures, the club’s top side was in the midst of a rebuild, providing ample pitch time to some of the club’s younger prospects.

“We’ve got, each weekend, about four players aged 17 years old or younger, so we are going a lot heavier with youth and that’s where we can compete with bigger clubs.

“We’re playing good football though, so it’s hard to put our decline at the moment to any one thing. We just need to secure some more results.

“In terms of players that have come into their own though, Luka Didulica has started every game since I’ve come in. A 16-year-old, he’s been unbelievable in the midfield and has been really good for us.

“Sonny Brimmer scored four goals in three games for us at one stage, Raymond Diho has been named in Papua New Guinea’s national team to take on Fiji in the OFC Nations Cup, and we’ve had Marcus Peretin start a few games for us recently as well.”

The Warriors sit five points behind Werribee City with eight games to play.

North Geelong’s next home game at Elcho Park will take place on July 13 when it plays Bentleigh.

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