Dawn of a new day for Parade

Sam Gilmore kicking a goal for Heidelberg in its grand final this year (NWM Studios)

Harper Sercombe

Old Paradians’ transfer into the Northern Football League is already paying dividends with the move inciting players and coaches to the famous club.

Experienced NFL coach Ben Turner has landed at Garvey Oval and is ready to lead the club into its next era.

“I’m very excited by the challenge and opportunity to coach the Old Paradians Football Club,” he said.

“We kicked things off on Monday night and we had a great number on the track, we had about 60-plus that jumped on the track and got things started for us which was great to see.

“There were a variety of types there, we had long serving players, we had guys that are only sort of new to the football club and we had a number of new players join us on the track so the feeling was good.”

Two of the fresh faces on the track were prized brother-recruits, Sam and Will Gilmore.

Sam is a three-time NFL division 1 premiership player with Heidelberg, including as premiership captain the last two seasons. He is also a two-time Frank Rosbrook Medal winner and three-time team of the year member.

While Will is returning to the Paradians as a multiple best and fairest winner and member of the Victorian Amateur Football Association team of the year.

“It’s awesome, it’s a great endorsement for our football club,” Turner said.

‘It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to dig into their experiences and their journeys… [I’m] very excited and very lucky to have been able to secure both of their services.”

The acquisition of the Gilmore brothers and Turner himself was only made possible thanks to the transfer of leagues the club has gone through.

Turner said the move was made for the betterment of the football club, which felt like it wasn’t probably weren’t performing as best as it could whilst in the VAFA.

“A fresh start in the Northern Football League was probably going to revitalise and rejuvenate many people involved at the football club,” he said.

“With player retention and encouraging other players to come to the football club, and now with some higher profile recruits jumping on board, it feels like this move has been a really timely one.”

Success has followed Turner around the NFL, from his time at Greensborough, to Lower Plenty and more recently at Banyule. Now, he is hoping to take his experience in the league and share it with some of the players who are less familiar with it.

“I think that’s important, looking around at the group last night, we’ve got a number of boys that have been part of the amateur competition and haven’t necessarily had the exposure to the northern league,” he said.

“I feel like we’ve got enough there, to have us covered for the move, and I’ve coached in the league so I’ve got an understanding of how things operate.”

While Turner said player retention has been fantastic to go with the clubs’ recruits, he is still on the lookout for some more players to help fill some gaps within the list.

Former Eltham vice-captain Kyle O’Sullivan was announced as a new signing on Tuesday.

“We’ve been building nicely with recruiting, and we’ve been able to attract a variety of different players from other clubs,” Turner said.

“We’ll continue to do so up until the season starts and we want to encourage anyone who wants to represent the club to come down to training and get involved.”

Heading into uncharted territories for the club provides Turner with a blank canvas and minimal expectations on the season ahead.

“Being placed in division 3, ultimately we just want to be as competitive as we can be on a weekly basis,” he said.

“We want to be difficult to play against and whatever part of the ladder that means we fall upon, for us it’s about building.

“There’s no bold expectations here.”