Roo coach raring to go
Wednesday, 18th November, 2020
By Emily Ferguson
With more than 15 years’ coaching experience with the South Football Club, Darren ‘Boof’ Smith has been appointed senior coach for the 2021 season.
Smith has coached many seasons in junior grades, most recently leading the South Under 18s to premiership success last year.
“I’m pretty lucky and I feel very humbled and super privileged to be given this by the South Footy Club,” said Smith.
“The decision was made pretty late. It was in my mind for many years but I felt like it was the right time now to step up because I’ve got a good window of opportunity with family and things going on next year that will allow me to just focus purely on football and the job at hand.”
Smith, who was assistant A-grade coach to Randy Stenhouse when the Roos won the flag in 2003, said he was looking forward to working with such an experienced team of players.
“The big focus will be on keeping the boys together on an off the field; just focus on their strengths, what makes them tick and just make them all happy and play football.”
Despite a year without any local footy competition, Smith said South had retained most of their playing group.
“I rang pretty much three quarters of the group to make sure they were all on board, because some of the guys are getting towards the twilight of their careers, but they’re all on board.
“I think all teams, and South are no different, are just keen to get out and play football again in 2021.”
Smith isn’t planning too far ahead though.
“We all play for premierships. I don’t think there’s too much distance between us and the other three teams. If you look at the last two grand finals it’s not as if we smashed teams,” he said.
Smith’s assistant coaches are Anthony Farguhar and Casey Paull.
“We need people that the players are comfortable around and the assistants are very important,” he said. “They’ve got a good understanding of the players, their personalities and all that.
“Casey Paull’s been around South for a long time, played in multiple premierships at senior level, has an extremely good rapport with the blokes, plus his knowledge of football. He’s an outstanding bloke.
“(Anthony Farquhar) played over 350 or 400 games of football. I think reserves are going for their tenth premiership in a row this year and Farky has coached more than half of them.
“Just his knowledge of football. He’s very respected around the club and he’s been around the league side as well for many, many years and they’re familiar with him. They’ve got a lot of respect for him and that’s why I picked him.”
But Smith said he was going in with no aim other than to uphold South’s proud record.
“We’ll just focus on the first 15 rounds and worry about finals later. We’re coming off three premierships in a row, technically, and that’s a hard gig to keep them up all the time.”