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Yarra Valley Water InFocus 2024 | Croydon

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By Ryan Long.

It’s an exciting new time for the Croydon Football Netball Club as they enter a new era in the club’s history.


Taking over the role of senior coach is Rhett Jordon, a former Croydon Junior and star of the EFNL league. Jordon most recently played for Norwood, a premiership player and former captain of the club.


It’s been a great opportunity for the star Premier player to get his opportunity t0 lead a club as senior coach. With experience playing under some terrific coaches and a taste of coaching himself, Jordon is ready to take on the challenge ahead.


“It’s really exciting, I’ve been lucky enough to learn over the last ten years under quality coaches like Dennis Knight, Marty Pask, Pat Bowden,” Jordon said.


“Getting a taste of coaching in 2016 really helped as well, so it’s exciting to take the reins myself but it’s something I’ve been building on and working on for a long time.”


As a former junior of the Blues, there was a strong connection, Jordon last wearing the navy blue in 2012.


Speaking to clubs ahead of being appointed at Croydon, the former Norwood man looked at the strength of the clubs’ junior programs in making his decision. The Blues have a strong and healthy junior football program which appealed to the new coach.


“I wanted to be challenged but also the list is healthy, the junior side is healthy,”


“I spoke to a handful of clubs and a lot of the times, I was asking what the junior programs are like,”


“What are your numbers like in your 14s, 15s, 17.5s, because obviously, you don’t want to have success for just one year, you want that prolonged success of being able to build something, to develop something long term.”


Last year, Croydon’s senior group managed just five wins which wasn’t enough to keep them safe from Division One’s double relegation.


The club now ventures into Division Two, along with Lilydale, replacing both Knox and Upper Ferntree Gully.


“From top to bottom, it’s not like there’s massive discrepancies so it’s a pretty even comp,” Jordon said.


“Get a chance to play everyone twice which makes every home game important and getting on the road, even more important as well.”


The senior group is raring to go for 2024, having all bought in with a change in coaching.


“Being a new coach, they could have easily have gone we’re used to a certain way, used to a certain style but they really bought into it, engaged with what we’ve done, whether it’s a new drill, a new style of play,” Jordon said.


“We’ve run a couple of education sessions around structures, and ball movement and positioning and things like that, so it’s so good that they’ve engaged in that as well as training on the track,”


“It’s all good to train and be fit but if you don’t know where you’re running, why you’re running there, then it’s sort of pointless so it’s been really positive to get that buy-in on and off the field.”


Along with Rhett Jordon who will remain as a player as well as coach, the club has welcomed several other recruits to the club.


The most recent of signings saw Daniel Potts commit to the Navy Blue in 2023. A family connection to Rhett Jordan assisted the move, a tall versatile utility that can be played in multiple positions.


Other off-season recruits include young ruckman Darcy Yule still developing his craft and versatile Luke Parsons also from Norwood.


“Darcy Yule, 203cm development guy, he’s only young so he’s a bit of a project but he’s one to see him continue to grow,” Jordon said.


“Luke Parsons hasn’t played senior footy before, got his first chance in a practice match,”


Joining his brother Callum, Liam Spurrell has moved on from North Ringwood, bringing further experience from the top two levels of the league.


“With his brother Cal being there, it was good having that connection from a family point of view and they’re two totally different players so it will be good to see them both together.”


Fresh off a Grand Final appearance and a Team of the Year representation with Kilsyth in Division Four, Luke Hoogstra also joins the Blues in 2024.


“Coming from division four, going a couple of divisions up, wanting to challenge himself,”


“Sometimes it does go the other way and guys just want to play a bit of easier footy so it’s great to see.”


Having been coached under Marty Pask at Norwood, the two went head-to-head from the coaches box on the weekend with Croydon’s practice match against Hampton Rovers.


Jordon took the bragging rights with a close one-point win but used the game as a great chance to test out some new things and use his former coach for advice and feedback.

“(We’ve) taken components of what I’ve learnt over the last couple of years under Pasky,”


“We played each other in practice matches on the weekend and it was really good for the instant feedback around that which was really positive,”


“Taken some of the things he’s got but also altering based on personnel.”


Another of Rhett Jordon’s biggest mentors, former Richmond and Western Bulldogs player Patrick Bowden has been influential in the style of coaching via communication.


“Taken a bit of stuff I learnt under Pat Bowden, especially playing up in the territory,”


“Communicating things a certain way or just approaching it a certain way through new knowledge.”


Despite the drop in divisions over the off-season, there’s a lot to look forward to from a Croydon perspective in 2024.


As well as a return to the finals this year, Croydon is looking towards the future for sustained success for the proud club.


“I think the club has always been in a really strong spot in terms of standing, the development of the club itself, the ground, the new lights, club rooms are awesome so it’s a really strong family club,” Jordon said.

“Finals is a focus, long-term stuff is going to be building the club back up and see if we can climb back up the ladder of the competition,”


“Perfect world, one day Croydon is back up in Premier Division footy – we obviously understand that’s a process and nobody is going to climb the ladder year after year after year,”


“But we want to start putting in the things we can implement as a group, and we can do together to start looking ahead.”


Croydon starts the 2024 season on April 6th when they meet the Rams at East Burwood Reserve.

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