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South master bows out

Friday, 11th October, 2013

Peter Johns is retiring as South coach.PICTURE: Darrin Manuel Peter Johns is retiring as South coach.PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By By Ethan James

Local AFL legend Peter Johns is taking off the coach’s hat for possibly the final time.

The 55-year-old mentored the South Kangaroos to the grand final this season but has decided not to reapply for the top position in 2014.

The Middleton and Mail medallist has cited work commitments as the main factor in his decision.

“I’m an area manager in my job now which means there’s a lot more travel and responsibilities on my plate,” he said.

“I gave it a lot of thought but I just haven’t got the time to commit to the role anymore.”

Also in somewhat of an end of an era for the club, Johns can’t envisage making a return to the coaching ranks.

While typically modest about his contribution to the sport in Broken Hill, Johns’ record undoubtedly speaks for itself.

He coached the Kangaroos to the premiership in 1991 and was also assistant coach in the club’s victorious 1987 and 1989 campaigns.

On the field itself, Johns notched up 319 senior games, won seven best and fairest awards and was also club captain.

After watching his beloved Kangaroos suffer the heartache of consecutive grand final losses in 2011 and 2012, he nominated for the position prior to this season.

The side finished second on the A Grade ladder at the end of the regular competition before qualifying for a third-straight grand final.

Unfortunately, the result did not fall their way on that final day in September, with the club going down 21.14 (140) to 14.14 (98) at the hands of North Bulldogs.

While unable to finish on the ultimate high, Johns is satisfied that he is leaving the club in healthy state.

“We had a reasonably successful year as a club and a senior squad. We lost about 20 A & B grade players from last year so we had to rebuild a bit for the season with 36 players playing A Grade football during the season and B Grade winning the premiership ... I think it’s been left in a strong position,” he said.

Johns intends to remain President of the South Past Players’ Association and contribute towards major events around the club.

“I’m still going to be around the club, we’re always short of volunteers. I’ll  help out when I can and  look forward to watching South’s games.”

The Kangaroos are yet to name a replacement for Johns, with a decision expected in the coming weeks.

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