By ZAC MILBANK
New Norwood coach Jade Rawlings has been tapping into the knowledge of his Redlegs connections as he grasps the passionate following of the SANFL Statewide Super League.
Appointed as the Redlegs’ senior mentor for the next three years, the former North Melbourne assistant has been in touch with ex-Redlegs he’s guided in the AFL system including Alex Georgiou, Trent Dumont and Kade Chandler.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, Rawlings revealed he chatted at length with 2012 Jack Oatey Medallist Dean Terlich, who he coached at AFL club Melbourne.
The 44-year-old, who has been involved in a coaching capacity with AFL clubs Richmond, Brisbane, Melbourne and the Kangaroos since 2007, has also been sent a book on Norwood’s 140-history ahead of his relocation from Tasmania.
Confirming that attention to detail and discipline were two key pillars of his coaching mandate, Rawlings said his background as a defensive coach in the AFL would shine through in Norwood’s style of play.
He is a firm believer in having his teams thrive at winning contested football, which is a hallmark of SANFL’s reputation in being the best State League in Australia.
Rawlings is looking forward to taking charge of his own team in a non AFL-aligned system, having previously succeeded in being named the VFL Coach of the Year en route to guiding Casey Demons to the 2018 VFL Grand Final.
The former Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne utility – who played 143 AFL games – will now turn his attention to finalising his team of coaching assistants, having already spoken to Magarey Medallist James Allan, who he played with at Werribee.
Rawlings will now begin to assess the Redlegs’ playing list as he looks to promote talented youth from within while also targeting specific needs such as a replacement for retired premiership ruckman Sam Baulderstone.