PREMIERSHIP-winning hero Ian Bourke will take back the coaching job at Lakes United next year as the embattled club tries to regain the glory of his consecutive grand final triumphs.
Bourke, 31, was player-coach of the Seagulls when they won the 2006 and 2007 deciders and played last year under new coach Adam Brown when the club experienced financial hardship.
Lakes were more than $200,000 in debt after their dual premiership wins, but Bourke was one of only a handful of players that stuck around last year when they finished second last.
He and Blake Mueller, another favourite son at Belmont, hung up their boots at the end of last season, and Bourke will return next year as a non-playing coach.
"A few people might think I've got rocks in my head," Bourke laughed yesterday.
"But I really miss the coaching side of the game a fair bit, and once Browny stepped aside I got interested again.
"I've got a few things planned off the field to try to help get the club back on its feet again as well.
"If everyone just sits back the next thing you know there is no more Lakes United and everyone would be blowing up, so I decided to get involved again."
A Cowra boy, Bourke moved to Newcastle aged 17 in 1996 and played two seasons with the Knights Jersey Flegg side before joining Lakes in 1998.
Experienced coach Rip Taylor saw something in a young Bourke that he liked and made him captain of Lakes in 2001. That year they defeated Western Suburbs in the grand final.
The pair teamed up again in 2002 before the goal-kicking playmaker took a step back in 2003 when Paul Jeffries was captain-coach.
When Jeffries retired at the end of that season the club decided to appoint Bourke to make his debut as a captain-coach at the tender age of 25.
The Seagulls were beaten by eventual champions West in the preliminary final that year and missed the semi-finals for the first time in a decade in 2005.
The club stuck by Bourke and he rewarded their faith with two premierships.
"Bourkey knows exactly what's ahead of him," Lakes secretary Tom Sheppard said.
"Similar to Browny, he will have limited resources and all the rest of it, but it's great to have him back involved.
"Browny has done a fine job and we're very happy with what he's done in the last two years bringing the young blokes through. Hopefully he will be able to watch them mature in the next few years."
Lakes are still picking up the pieces from their financial troubles, and Bourke will take over a wooden spoon side from Brown.
The Seagulls have won just two of their 15 matches this season and will finish with what is believed to be the first wooden spoon in the club's 62-year history.
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