Eastern Premier Division club North Ringwood has re-signed former AFL speedster Robbie Nahas as its senior playing coach.
Nahas landed at Quambee Reserve following the 2019 season, taking on the role left vacant by outgoing coach Paris Harvie.
He played 117 matches across Richmond and North Melbourne from 2009-16, before serving as an assistant under Gary Ayres at Port Melbourne but is yet to oversee an official match for the Saints due to the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s unfortunate not to get an opportunity to see what it was going to be like coaching some games, but the six months or so I had in the pre-season was fantastic – a great bunch of people and the club’s run extremely well … I was pretty excited to have a crack,” Nahas said.
“With the improvement I saw in six months, we’re in such a good position for next season.
“I’ve re-signed knowing that I’ve put in a lot of good work to start off, and the foundations are there.”
North Ringwood president Lee Robinson was thrilled to have the former Tiger and Roo on board again for 2021.
“Robbie came to us in October last year after having a successful AFL career, and was also the forward coach for VFL Port Melbourne,” Robinson said.
“We had a couple of affiliate players that played with us and they said that as a forward line coach, he really opened up their forward line and actually got them to kick three or four goals extra per match.
“A lot of those guys actually credit him, especially that Port Melbourne premiership in 2017.”
The Saints finished second-bottom last season with three wins in the top-flight, and Robinson said the players had responded well to the new coach as the group sets out to climb the ladder in 2021.
“Robbie’s got an unbelievable football brain,” Robinson said.
“All the guys, senior and junior, really adapted to him really well at training.
“He’s a bit different – he’s not a ‘ranter’ and raver, and he’s not a ‘Let’s spend time in the back room and talk about something for an hour’ type, he’s a doer.
“A lot of the training is match simulation, and putting the players under pressure when they’re tired.”
Robinson believes Nahas’ reappointment arguably gives the Saints a head-start for 2021, with VFL and AFL coaching talent now hot commodities among suburban clubs in Victoria following recent cuts to soft cap spending at the elite level.
The Saints’ boss spoke recently of his clib’s $2.5M facelift at Quambee Reserve, which includes a full ground resurfacing, and how he expected the club to retain the majority of its players despite a 50 per cent cut to the top tier’s salary cap for next season.
“We’ve now got to go through our list and do a list analysis and work out how we fit everybody into the salary cap, which is basically getting your highest paid 22 players and working it back from there,” he said.