Dockers searching for coach in 2007

AERIAL BATTLE: Devonport's Clint Matthews marks over South Launceston's Drew Westfield on Saturday. Picture: PETER LORD.
AERIAL BATTLE: Devonport's Clint Matthews marks over South Launceston's Drew Westfield on Saturday. Picture: PETER LORD.

The Burnie Dockers are to advertise for a new coach after Brad Davis announced his resignation at the weekend.

Davis, 34, said his work and family commitments would make it difficult for him to continue in the coaching role, although he intends to keep playing with the Dockers for at least another two years.

Davis told the players of his decision after Saturday's 16-point loss to Ulverstone and club president Shane Walker called a meeting at West Park yesterday to outline the plans for the future.

"I had a meeting with Brad on Friday afternoon, when he indicated he wasn't going on as coach because of his job as a shift worker and his young family," Walker said. "Brad's very committed to the club and it is his personal belief that we should go and source a coach from outside our club, whether that be interstate of somewhere in Tasmania."

Davis needs a further 50 games to achieve 200 games and life membership at Burnie and said that would be the driving force to keep him playing.

Walker said the Dockers would advertise all coaching positions within the next few days.

"We've spoken to the rest of the coaching panel now that Brad has made his decision, although it is not our intention to make wholesale changes," he said.

Walker said Davis's decision would allow the club to start looking for a replacement coach, although the name of Tasmanian Devils forward Justin Plapp continues to be mentioned at Burnie.

Plapp played with Burnie before starting his AFL career with Richmond and St Kilda.

"I've heard that five or six clubs are chasing Justin and we'd like to think we're in there," he said.

Plapp has had some experience in football administration, which means he could fill the general manager's role at Burnie as well.

Davis was appointed coach of Burnie last November after the club was confronted with the messy situation with 2005 premiership coach Errol Bourn.

The Dockers have been able to win just seven games following an exodus of premiership players and will miss the finals for the first time since joining the NTFL in 2001.

Walker said he was pleased that Davis had indicated he wanted to play on with the Dockers.

"He is one of the better players in the competition, he's so much value around the place and we couldn't afford to lose him," he said.

Davis started his career at Burnie before he was drafted to Fitzroy in the AFL and his career includes games at North Ringwood, West Adelaide and with the Tasmanian Devils.

He won the Wilfred Barker Medal for being best afield in last year's grand final.

¤¤¤ Launceston has moved back to the top of the ladder, for the time being at least.

Courtesy of Saturday's 191-point win over East Devonport, the Blues now have a superior percentage over Devonport.

But the Magpies have a game in hand as Launceston has the bye in round 21 this weekend.

Launceston coach Adam Sanders said he expected to finish second on the ladder when the roster season finishes in a fortnight.

Of biggest concern for the Blues is the fitness of leading goalkicker Adam Derbyshire, who was forced off the field in the last quarter of the game against the Swans after complaining of a tight hamstring.

He had kicked eight goals to take his season's tally to 109.

Sanders said having the bye this weekend would work in favour of Derbyshire and on-ballers Scott Stephens and Brian Finch, who have been carrying a heavy workload in recent games.

Captain Anthony Taylor is progressing slowly from an achilles tendon strain which has forced him to miss six weeks and he is a chance to play in the last game against Penguin.

¤¤¤ South Launceston's hopes for the finals came to an end after losing to Devonport by 21 points and tonight the club will have Doug Headland and Michael Lette appearing before the NTFL Independent Tribunal.

They were reported for rough play against opponents Clinton Brown and Taylor Haley.

The NTFL has completed an investigation into an incident involving under-19 players Harry Walters (Wynyard) and Josh Donovan (Penguin) on July 29. Walters will have to answer a striking charge tonight.

¤¤¤ Young Essendon star Nathan Lovett-Murray and AFL legend Darrel Baldock helped judge the long kicking competition held during the half-time break of the senior game at East Devonport.

Lovett-Murray was a guest of East Devonport after helping Essendon to a surprise win over Collingwood on Friday night.