Coburg has finalised its coaching group for the 2022 VFL season, headlined by the appointment of three new Assistant Coaches in former AFL player Matt White, Austin Stubbs and Sam Willatt.

The Lions have recruited six new Development Coaches with Jeremy Dickson, James Saville, Nick Johnson, Brodric Gray, Darren Roe and Tim Bench joining the club.

Brendan Murray, Elliot Matthews and Daniel Fiteni return in their roles as Director of Coaching, High Performance Manager and Development Coach respectively.

Senior Coach Andrew Sturgess said he was stoked with the group that the club had put together.

“Our intention was to obviously ensure that we got the best coaching group we could, and we felt like we’ve put in a lot of time and effort and spoke to a lot of potential coaches over this period and in the end the ones that we’ve landed with we couldn’t be happier,” he said.

Sturgess said that diversity was the main strength of the new coaching group.

“I think the thing that we’ve also identified is trying to complement and add in value around some areas that I probably need improvement in as well and we’ve certainly been able to do that,” he said

“Now we’ve brought in someone like Austin Stubbs for example who is really strong in strategy and sees the game maybe a little bit differently and thinks innovatively towards what could happen so he’s going to be a great addition.”

Stubbs is the team’s Head of Strategy & Development/Assistant Coach (Contest). He was a football analyst with Essendon’s AFL program before the pandemic and has experience working with the Western Bulldogs’ AFLW and VFLW sides.

White, who played 153 games for Richmond and Port Adelaide and kicked 98 goals, joins as Assistant Coach (Ball Movement). He also played 49 matches for Coburg while on Richmond’s list.

After 12 years in the AFL, Sturgess said that White had credibility with what he was able to do as a player.

“To be at that level for so long obviously means he’s got the professionalism and understands what it takes to be successful,” he said.

“He’s been out of the game for a couple of years now and hasn’t really been involved in a playing or coaching capacity so he’s really eager to get back in and we can’t wait to have him involved and bring his ideas and concepts to the table from his experiences.”

Willatt, Assistant Coach (Team Defence), learnt how to play AFL in the UK at the University of Birmingham and has represented the Great Britain national AFL side.

A previous VFL listed player, having spent time at Footscray and Sandringham, Willatt was also coached by Sturgess at Bundoora in 2019.

He served as a senior assistant coach at VAFA Division 4 side North Brunswick this season after previously co-coaching the reserves team to a premiership in 2018.

Sturgess believes that Willatt has all the foundations to become a great coach.

“While he might be a little bit green in his experiences so far, I think he’s got the capacity to grow into a really good coach,” he said.


2022 VFL Coaching group

Senior Coach – Andrew Sturgess

Director of Coaching – Brendan Murray

Head of Strategy & Development/Assistant Coach (Contest) – Austin Stubbs

Assistant Coach (Ball Movement) – Matt White

Assistant Coach (Team Defence) – Sam Willatt

Development Coaches:

Daniel Fiteni

Jeremy Dickson

James Saville

Nick Johnson

Brodic Gray

Darren Roe

Tim Bench

High Performance Manager – Elliot Matthews


All club staff can be seen here https://coburgfc.com.au/our-staff/


To join our coaches and staff and commit to the club for the 2022 VFL season, please become a club member by clicking here: https://coburgfc.com.au/membership/