By Nicholas Galea
The Coburg Football Club is pleased to announce that Andrew Sturgess will extend his tenure as Senior Coach of the Coburg Football Club Men’s team for a third year after putting pen to paper, signing a one-year extension to the end of the 2022 VFL season.
General Manager of Football Sebastian Spagnuolo was thrilled to share the news to the Coburg faithful, highlighting the positive influence that Sturgess has had on the club in such a short amount of time as testament to his work ethic and strong foundations he has put in place for future success.
‘The club’s Board of Directors and I are so excited to be sharing this fantastic news with our players, members, sponsors and supporters,’ Spagnuolo said. ‘Since being appointed Senior Coach in August 2019, Andrew has set the foundations for long term success and everyone within the club is working toward a common goal and the feeling is one of extreme excitement.’
Although Sturgess has coached just the nine games during his time with Coburg, there is no denying the influence he is having, not just amongst the Board, its coaches and playing group but through all levels at the Club, giving a sense of belonging and value to its many staff and volunteers as well.
‘This decision has been met internally with extreme positivity in the playing group as well as the staff and volunteer groups that Andrew has strongly connected with in his role,’ Spagnuolo said. ‘Because of the worldwide Covid pandemic and the effect it’s had on both our 2020 and 2021 seasons, we are only 9 games in to seeing the plan for success through, but with Andrew’s ongoing commitment, dedication and care for the club, the club’s Board and Executive saw the need to extend Andrew’s tenure as coach for the 2022 season.’
A family man who has incredibly strong values, Andrew Sturgess has strong ties to the Coburg Football Club after playing there between 2014-15 before moving into an assistant coaching role for the 2017 season and it is these ties that would have him describe the Club as his second family.
Commonly known as “Sturg”, Andrew was excited about being given “another opportunity to take the Club forward”.
‘I’m honestly very humbled, first of all that the Club, the Board and Seb have the faith in me for the work that I have done in the year and a half, almost two years now since I have been at the helm,’ Sturgess said. ‘I’m really humbled and really grateful for the opportunity that is afforded to me and sometimes I have to pinch myself being 32 years old, not having a great football resume from a playing perspective compared to some others that would be gunning for jobs like the one that I have.’
Although 2020 presented many challenges for people to improve and that there wasn’t much to take from a playing perspective with last season cancelled, Sturgess felt that it was important to view the year as one more for reflection, learning and how we could improve internally.
‘I think 2020 gave everybody an opportunity to do that in one way shape or form to review and reflect where their life was currently at, learn from that from that reflection and then make some adjustments and improvement on how they want to spend their life moving forward,’ Sturgess said. ‘As hard as it can be at times we have to try and not be so outcome driven and dictated by outcomes, we really wanted to focus on that process of review, learn and improve and we (Coburg) feel like we have, although our results at this stage don’t necessarily suggest that.’
With the VFL season currently put on hold due to another lockdown, Sturgess is very keen to getting back to the season proper and seeing his second family for the remaining fixtured matches and beyond.
‘I think that’s what excites me more than anything is getting back to being around the people I love… I brought my wife and son Leo into the rooms a couple weeks ago and basically used the analogy that they are my family and my most prized part of life,’ Sturgess said. ‘Outside of that, my second family is the Coburg Football Club, I want to be able to spend time with my family and be able to work towards something really special with that family.’
‘I’m looking forward to getting back and I’m really optimistic – and our supporters and members should be too, that our results aren’t that far away.’
‘We’ve made many strides forward this year, we have a host of new players coming through our Club at the moment so it’s probably going to take a little bit of time to get that cohesion and understanding amongst each other and really nail down what our brand looks like.’
‘I’m just looking forward to getting back, not necessarily doing anything different than we have been already but just continuing to build towards where we can get to and ultimately sustained success in the future.’
With the club showing plenty of promise on and off the field in 2021 and many of its players putting together career-best seasons, the Club has a strong platform to launch in the second half of the season and get its year back on track with the remainder of its Home and Away games scheduled all at Piranha Park.
‘With ongoing stability and further development and improvement in mind, along with Andrew’s contract being extended, the club will also soon start to announce the re-commitment of its re-contracted players for 2022,’ Spagnuolo said. ‘From here, we look forward to finishing off the 2021 season as strongly as possible and head into 2022 with great optimism and excitement.’