Craigieburn’s incoming senior coach Justin Sherman is ready to get stuck into the 2022 pre-season, and his life with the Essendon District Football League division 1 club.
Sherman comes to the club with an extensive history and knowledge of football, having played 139 AFL games between 2005 and 2012 for the Brisbane Lions and Western Bulldogs.
Sherman has since been a player, assistant coach and head coach for various clubs, most recently as an assistant coach for NAB League club, the Northern Knights.
Sherman said his stint with the Knights was a learning experience.
“Being assistant coach the last 12 months with the Knights, I was able to learn a lot about myself and my coaching,” Sherman said.
“I’ve definitely missed being the head coach and being able to do all the planning.”
Sherman said the player development opportunities attracted him to Craigieburn.
“They’re a successful club, and it’s got a real family feel,” he said.
“It feels right, it feels like home.
“My strengths are the relationships, I’m able to build with people over time, so I’m excited to get to know people.
“I just want them to feel safe, I want them to feel good, I want them to feel like part of the family.
“I’m looking forward to showing the junior players that there is a pathway within their own club to progress to senior football. That development is important to me.”
Sherman said he was “really excited” to get started with Craigieburn. The Eagles were winless this year in premier division and have been relegated.
“I’ve already had a zoom call with the boys – they’re a great group.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting them in person and making those connections.
“We’ve all missed the footy, so to get back out there and play, it’ll be great.”
Sherman said there weren’t any “defined goals” he’d set for the club yet as he didn’t want to put the pressure on just yet.
“We’re going to build that defined base of fitness first, and build up our fundamentals.
“It doesn’t guarantee any success, but it gives you a good chance of being there and playing that final game of the season.”
Sherman said considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Melbourne – that halted 2020 community sport entirely, and has severely impacted the 2021 season, ending it early – he would be taking pre-season and each game as they come.
“We’re under no illusions that we might need to make adjustments with COVID,” he said.
“[The time before pre-season in November] will allow me time to have a few weeks off work and get some planning done.
“That’s the most exciting part for me.”
Club president John Perrone said Sherman had “brought so much to the club already” after the lengthy process of finding a replacement for outgoing senior coach Lance Whitnall.
“We’re delighted, as a club,” Perrone said.
“He’s [Sherman] got an extensive background, passion to develop players and push people, and really great knowledge of the game itself as well.
“We’re looking forward to a wonderful pre-season, if COVID permits.
“We’re very, very excited about it. It’s been a dismal kind of year, but we’re very excited to have his leadership at the front of us at the club.”