New Greenvale Kangaroos coach Damian Shanahan is learning on the go ahead of the Victorian Premier Cricket season.
Shanahan, who coached Geelong for eight seasons, was appointed as Kangaroos coach in early May, but due to COVID-19 restrictions hadn’t been able to meet the playing group until recent weeks.
Shanahan said it was quite a unique pre-season.
“I’m jumping into it,” he said.
“I’m getting to know all the players and seeing what their strengths and weaknesses are.
“Everyone has a story to tell and it’s an interesting time working out who is who.”
Shanahan said the challenge at the Kangaroos that he was looking forward to. He had been out of premier coaching since the 2014-2015.
“They approached me a few times,” he said.
“I was entrenched in my own work, but from my point of view there is still unfinished [coaching] business.
“There’s big potential and areas that will challenge me.
“Hopefully we can set them on a different path, a successful path.”
Shanahan knows that it won’t be a short team solution to help the club up the ladder and has signed a three year contract.
The Kangaroos finished last season in 16th with just three wins.
“It’s not going to be just six months’ body of work,” he said.
“It’s about getting some real consistency and working hard and pushing up in the grades.
“It might take some time. The playing group needs time to gel together.
“That’s why I signed for three years, it’s time to build the program how I like it.”
Former Geelong captain Matthew Harrison joins his former coach at the Kangaroos.
Shanahan said he would provide some leadership on the field.
“Matthew has been a fantastic player in his own right. His experience and knowledge will see him as a mentor and coach on the ground.”
The addition of Harrison will help offset the loss of last season’s playing coach Kaushal Silva, who won’t return due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Shanahan said they hadn’t gone out on a recruiting spree for this season, preferring to build with the players they’ve already got.
“It’s all about getting opportunity for guys on the list,” he said
“It’s about the bigger picture and getting players gelling together and then looking at adding, a, b and c in the future.
“Hopefully we can have a solid year and have some improvement. There’s a good future ahead if they continue to work hard.”
The Kangaroos kick off their season on November 28 against Footscray.