Werribee locks in coach, footy manager

Ljubica Vrankovic (362607_01)

Tara Murray

Werribee has locked in a new coach and football manager as preparation for the 2024 Victorian Football League season gets underway.

With the departs of coach Michael Barlow and football manager Mark Micallef respectively, it’s a beginning of a new era for Werribee.

James Allan returns to the club where he played two seasons, this time as coach.

Allan was best known in his playing days in South Australia as a fierce ball winning midfielder, who won three Magarey medals as the best player in the South Australian National Football League, while winning five club best and fairests with North Adelaide. He also won a premiership with Norwood.

He was rookie listed by Geelong in 2004 and then played two years with Werribee as well.

Since retiring from playing, he moved into coaching.

In 2020, he was named as the Rostrevor College first ever football director and and coached the school’s top side.

He also coached Norwood’s under-18s side and was an assistant coach for the Redlegs since side.

Last season he was an assistant coach with North Adelaide.

Werribee president Martin Carter welcomed the news that Allan would return to Avalon Airport Oval.

“Jimmy was a popular leader at our club in his playing days and the career he has had in South Australia as a player and more recently in assistant coaching roles has given him the perfect credentials to take over from Michael Barlow and keep our club at the top of the VFL competition,” he said.

The other new recruit is Ash Collins who takes on the role of footballer manager.

He brings a wide range of football experience, having been involved in key roles with the Brisbane Lions, Collingwood and the Sydney Swans. His decade-plus AFL career includes 10 years at the reigning AFL premiers Collingwood.

Werribee chief executive Mark Penaluna sees the club not missing a beat with the appointments. The club this season made the grand final, losing two games for the season, before falling short against the Gold Coast Suns in the grand final.

“Ash brings many skills to a very demanding and sometimes unpredictable role but he has the experience to hit the ground running and continue Mark Micallef’s great work,” Penaluna said. “These two positions were much sought after and highly desirable in the football marketplace and we feel we have secured the right team to take us forward.”