THE selection of experienced footballer Dylan Ford to lead the Eagles in season 2024 has been described as a wonderful appointment by retiring coach Matthew Smith. Smith’s endorsement was among a flurry of supportive social media comments following the official announcement.
Fellow Eagle stalwart and former senior women’s coach Dean King was among them, congratulating Ford on his selection. “Fingers crossed everyone gets behind you, future and past players, and hopefully a few boys return back from the other clubs,” King said.
NNDFC president Steve Balmforth said Ford’s signing was a cornerstone of the club’s rebuilding program. “We have already generated interest from players and supporters who have indicated that they will be on board this year,” Balmforth said.
Ford, 28, comes to the Eagles with wide experience as a player and assistant coach and coach. “He played as a mid-fielder with North Hobart, as assistant coach to Byron Howard at Brighton and coach of the Brighton women’s team,” Balmforth said.
“Dylan will bring a fresh approach to the NNDFC as part of the club’s rebuilding strategy,” he said. “Although the club’s success on the field in the last season was probably the worst in the long history of the club, we knew it would be tough when the board embarked on the rebuilding program that focuses on the changes needed with culture, commitment, loyalty and involvement.”
“Dylan will bring to the role his experience as a player and coach who is known as a hard taskmaster who sets high standards both on and off the field. This culture-change focus is part of the rebuilding process and is welcomed by many long-term club supporters.”
Ford said he was honoured to be appointed senior coach of the Eagles. “I trust that I can build on the strategy the club has in place to rebuild and gain success on the field for a club that has such a long and proud history,” he said. “It won’t be easy but I’m confident that with the support of the talented playing group and their commitment we can make a difference,” he said.
With pre-season training sessions to start tomorrow (November 15), Ford is keen to have all four teams involved with training sessions. Eagles vice president Chris Lovell said Ford’s appointment as senior coach was a major part of the clubs long term strategic plan and welcomed his commitment to the NNDFC. An experienced harness race driver, Ford also has a reputation as one of Tasmania’s leading drivers with many successes under his belt.
With a number of players returning in all grades, the club is confident of being able to field four teams wearing the famous Red, White and Black guernsey in season 2024. A light training run, barbecue and opportunity to meet the coach and players will be held on Wednesday, November 15, at the Boyer Oval. All supporters are invited to attend.
- Senior coach: Dylan Ford
- Senior women’s coach: Josh Clifford
- Reserves co-coaches: Nigel Hay and Corey Ransley
- Colts coach: Tristan Triffett
See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.