KEELAN Hamilton insists "nothing will change" after the premiership-winning women's tactician was installed as interim coach at Northern NSW powerhouse Edgeworth on Monday after Damian Zane stepped down.
Zane informed senior players at Edgeworth on Saturday that he had agreed to join fierce rivals Broadmeadow Magic next season.
Initially, the four-time premiership-winner had planned to stay at the Eagles for the shortened 13-round competition, which kicks off on Sunday.
But after more consideration, he decided his position was untenable due to the delayed start of the campaign and the need to start planning for 2021.
"I weighed up whether I would be more of a help or a hindrance," Zane said. "You can say I am going to give 100 per cent - and I would - but there would be a point where I am looking towards 2021. This time of year, July, is when you start planning for next season, but this season hasn't started yet.
"I have looked at it from all angles. I don't want to hurt the club. It's about doing what is best for the players. Sometimes what is best for them might be me making a hard decision. I know the boys are prepared and ready to go.
"I don't think it matters who takes them at this stage. I think they are going to be tough to beat."
Hamilton has his B Licence - a requirement to coach in the NPL - and joined Edgeworth this season as an assistant after guiding New Lambton to a premiership double in the Herald Women's Premier League. The 33-year-old has also worked as an assistant to Craig Deans with the Jets' W-League side and has previously guided the Emerging Jets under-16 boys to a premiership.
He will take his first training session in charge on Tuesday ahead of Sunday's grand-final rematch against Maitland at Jack McLaughlan Oval.
"We have good structures in place and an amazing foundation that Damian and the club have set over the past five years," Hamilton said. "I have had a few weeks to get to the know the players. I think we are in a good position. There is obviously a little bit of planning to do for round one and training on Tuesday.
"Nothing will change in the short term. It will be business as usual but without Damian here. All the processes and structures are in place. We have been working towards this since we were able to return to training."
Zane said he had informed Edgeworth a month ago that this would be his last season at the helm and had intended to coach the Northern NSW under-15 representative team next season.
"I told the committee who were local that I wasn't coaching Edgeworth next year," he said. "I hadn't announced it, but I wasn't returning next year. It has nothing to do with the current players. It has been a long journey and it's draining. I was very much a central figure at Edgeworth and felt like I needed something new. I wasn't sure what that was. I was going to coach the Northern NSW under-15s and was quite excited for a new challenge there.
"Just over a week ago, I got approached by Broadmeadow. We went through a few things. They put forward their plans and I thought they were in line with the way I coach and the way I wanted things to be. I had a few requests and we met again on Friday and that was it."
In his first senior coaching assignment, Zane steered Edgeworth to four consecutive NNSW top-division premierships, starting with his rookie year in 2015. He has also guided the Eagles to the grand final in every season, winning in 2015, 2016 and 2019.
"We built something good at Edgeworth but I have never seen a coach stay at one club forever," Zane said.
"It just so happened that Magic asked. Five years of doing fairly well and I no requests [from other clubs]. I like the fact that they had the audacity to ask me. That tells me that they have ambition.
"Coaches come and go, so do players. Clubs stay there. I never thought I was bigger than a club nor have I thought that a club owned me."