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DONALD MCDONALD TO COACH IN 2019

DONALD McDonald will continue as coach at Avondale Heights next season as he looks to build a platform for sustained success.
The former North Melbourne player took charge at the Essendon District Football League Premier Division club in June last year and steered it to a seventh-place finish in 2018.While the Heights managed only four wins and a draw from 18 games, McDonald gave the season a pass mark after his side was hit hard by injury. “It was a pretty tough season,”

McDonald said.

“We lost 14 guys who played senior footy from the previous year. When you’re a smaller club and you don’t have those numbers coming through your under-19s in particular, it’s difficult to try and recruit players in.
“A lot of players are either going to come for money or if they know someone, so for us it’s just trying to build a good little footy program and focus on our 17s, 19s and build a good base from there.
“Then hopefully we can stay up in Premier, have a bit of luck and get some success.”


Avondale Heights last contested top-flight finals in 2014 and has claimed 14 wins in the past three seasons.
 In August, McDonald said his job in North Melbourne’s commercial department could preclude him from continuing as coach, but the fact he has committed is welcome news for a club craving stability.
“I feel we’ve still got a lot of hard work to do,” he said.
“We’ve done a lot, last year in particular, and just felt to walk away now would’ve meant the job was half finished.
“We’ve got a bit of work to do to build the footy club up through the under-19s, reserves and in particular if we want to be competitive in Premier league.”

Mathew Cravino was one of Avondale Heights’ leading performers this season.

Ciaran Sheehan, Luke Edwards and Mathew Cravino filled the top-three positions in the Heights’ best and fairest, while Justin Morris also impressed this year.
McDonald was encouraged by the development of Darcy McPherson, Jake Edwards, Scott Russell and Adam Harris, while Luke McLeod and Sean Bolger were among those to have injury-interrupted seasons.
Dennis Armfield has crossed to Eastern league club Park Orchards, where he has taken over as coach, but McDonald said he did not expect to lose many players.
“We reckon in the last two years we’ve got 10 boys on our list who are from our under-19s,” he said.
“We just think that’s the way to go. Especially with the points system and salary cap, you’ve got to build slowly.”


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