Norths A-Grade coach Jamie Burns discusses tactics with Anita Davey during a match last season.
Norths A-Grade coach Jamie Burns discusses tactics with Anita Davey during a match last season. David Nielsen

Family involvement keeps Burnsy keen on game

WITH a young family and his wife playing hockey this year, loyal clubman Jamie Burns is happy to concentrate on coaching the Norths women.

After taking on the role last year, Burns was the first to admit it was a new challenge having enjoyed previous success with the Norths men over many years.

However, Burns quickly warmed to coaching women, building a competitive combination by season's end.

Relaxed about the new A- Grade season starting this weekend, Burns is keen to work with a similar group of players as the Norths club focuses on developing more top graders for the future.

Another dedicated Norths player and coach Morgan Leeder is working with the Devils' R2 side. She's assisting Burns and Reserve Grade coach Rob Lewis in strengthening the link between lower and senior grades.

"We're going to start really bringing the young ones up through the ranks as well,'' Burns said. "Pretty much across the whole board, we're going to be doing it this year.''

As for his A-Grade side playing last year's grand finalists Hancocks in their first game on Saturday night, Burns was his typical casual self.

"I'm hearing Hancocks have got a few ring-ins this year so I've got to wait and see what's happening,'' Burns said.

"I've got about three or four out this weekend so I'll put a team on the paddock and it's only game one.

"I'm not going to worry too much at the moment.''

Norths will be without captain Sarah Parlett for the start of the season after she broke her finger playing indoor sport.

However, the Devils have picked up three handy players from last year's Bellbowrie A- Grade side. The Bellbowrie club was unable to field a top division team this year.

Athletic midfielder Erin Alchin, handy utility Natalie Walker and former Wests' goalkeeper Jade McDougall have joined Norths.

"We've got a pretty good squad,'' Burns said, feeling refreshed after an off-season break.

"All the girls are enjoying the training at the moment. It's working well.''

Burns is happy to continue his coaching with wife Kathy playing R2 and their daughters Charlotte (under 11) and Brooklyn (under 5) involved in junior competitions.