'Unfinished business': Edwards takes charge of determined Thistles

Ben Hann
Updated December 4 2023 - 3:02pm, first published 2:55pm
Old Scotch have fallen short of the grand final three seasons in a row. Picture by Paul Scambler
Old Scotch have fallen short of the grand final three seasons in a row. Picture by Paul Scambler

New coach Will Edwards is keen to rectify Old Scotch's finals record from their past three NTFAW campaigns.

Three-consecutive preliminary final exits have highlighted a frustrating period for the Thistles, with their latest marking the last match under previous coach Dean Smith's tenure.

Vice-president Lucy Flanagan said Smith's decision to stand down was accepted by the club and reflected on a positive era which he brought.

The Examiner’s Ben Hann, Rob Shaw and Hamish Geale unpack and discuss the sports news across Northern Tasmania.

"He's been fantastic. His knowledge and dedication and commitment to women's football is fantastic ... he's wonderful with his progression of the sport for women and he will be very missed," Flanagan said.

In his place, the Thistles have brought in a figure synonymous with their club in Edwards - a selection endorsed by the outgoing Smith.

A player there for more than 20 years before retiring at 48, Edwards has been most recently the women's team runner for Old Scotch but has developed his coaching nous with junior sides at East Launceston - a team with a long-standing connection to the Thistles.

Edwards said it was a no-brainer when the opportunity came up.

"My daughter Maisie has played for a number of years so I have watched, but I'm a not a great spectator, I do find it difficult not to be involved," he said.

"When the opportunity came up, I jumped at it."

Asked how the side's latest preliminary final defeat had affected them, Flanagan and Edwards were singing from the same hymn sheet.

Edwards was runner for the team in 2023. Picture supplied
Edwards was runner for the team in 2023. Picture supplied

"That's a real pain to all of us and it's a real disappointment and we are all hell-bent on taking it further," Edwards said.

"They've got unfinished business, and they're very eager to get to that next step," Flanagan added.

Old Scotch's relationship with East Launceston is where the club hope to find the catalyst for a maiden grand final appearance and Flanagan said Edwards' appointment only furthered that bond.

With Edwards of the opinion that the new crop coming through will enhance a side which "weren't far off" reaching the big dance, he was keen to use Smith's foundation work to build a new evolution of the Thistles' women.

"I don't tend to do things exactly the same way that he did, but I will continue to try and bring a more professional brand to the girls' footy," he said.

"The style that we wanted to play, we didn't quite get there last year. So from that point of view, it's not business as usual. We'll be focused on fitness, which I think is a major asset in our game. Obviously, there's all sorts of things which are involved, but the use of kicking the ball to space and taking our opportunities from there, that's what we are pushing for."

Old Scotch finished third on the ladder in the premier division this year and lost in the preliminary final against eventual premiers, Old Launcestonians.

Ben Hann

Ben Hann

Digital Sport Journalist

A passionate sports lover, devoted to writing detailed stories about the best people and sporting events that Launceston has to offer. Follow me on Twitter at @BenHann6 or email me at ben.hann@austcommunitymedia.com.au for any stories.

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