Former Newcastle Breakers coach Lee Sterrey knows Damian Zane will be a tough act to follow at Edgeworth but he believes there is another level he can take the Northern NSW NPL heavyweights to next year.
Sterrey will lead a new-look coaching unit at the Eagles featuring former Jets captain Jobe Wheelhouse, current assistant Rod Linsley and ex-coach Gary Wilson.
The appointments come as the Eagles regroup following the resignation of interim coach Keelan Hamilton and reserve grade boss Alex Butt this week. Hamilton had stepped up to take over from Zane when he quit on the eve of the season after announcing he would coach rivals Broadmeadow in 2021.
Zane won four premierships and three from five grand final appearances in five years as coach at Edgeworth and his move sparked speculation about players following him to Magic.
Sterrey, a former coach of Fiji, hoped the appointments would help the Eagles' retention and recruitment.
"They have a good squad, but we'll certainly look for some new faces because we will probably lose a few, but hopefully players are happy when they find out," Sterrey said. "Hopefully they want to stay and do something new with their football, because a different head coach brings in different formulas, and that might stimulate some players.
"Zaney has done a hell of a job. I respect him a lot and what he's done. This will be just the next chapter for the club."
The 59-year-old, who coached Newcastle in the national league from 1998 to 2001, hoped to take the Eagles to even greater heights.
"I think there's another level which I can help Edgy get to. That's what I'll be striving to do," he said.
"They've done well getting to the last 16 in the FFA Cup, and they've won local leagues and premierships, but I'll try and push on from that and try to do even better. That's my job."
Eagles administrator Warren Mills said the club was excited to appoint Sterrey.
"He has a proven record coaching senior teams, both at national level and international level, but also very important to the Eagles is his proven ability with youth development which has been so important for about 15 years now," Mills said.
"He wanted to start afresh next season and spend the rest of the season getting a feel for the local league. Equally, to have Gary Wilson, Rod Linsley and Jobe Wheelhouse involved assisting Lee next year, well, I'm not sure there is a better roster than that going around.
"We were very fortunate to have Josh Rose to take over this season, and we know he will do an outstanding job, but Josh still has so much to offer as a player and wants to continue playing next year."
Wheelhouse will also be in charge of the Eagles academy.
"It's exciting times," Mills said.
"We don't do things in halves out here in the golden west and appointing Jobe to head it up speaks for itself.
"I'm not sure anyone would argue Jobe Wheelhouse Football is head and shoulders the No.1 academy in Newcastle."
Sterrey works as the technical director at the King's School in Parramatta but he plans to retire in Newcastle, where he has an apartment.
"I was always looking forward to coming back to Newcastle at some stage to do something in football and it's a really good opportunity," he said.
"It's a big club and one of the best in Newcastle, and it's got a lot of history of winning things, playing well and having good squads and players to work with. So those opportunities don't come along all the time.
"I'm happy to step in there and do what I can do."
He agreed there would be pressure to succeed given the club's run under Zane.
"No one puts more pressure in football on me than myself," he said.
"If you are hard on yourself in every job, you will survive. If you're not and you just want to roll with the punches, you get what you get.
"But I'd rather take over a club that's been strong and powerful. I've had the other end with P1 and P2 clubs down in Sydney."
The appointments come as Edgeworth prepare to take on Zane's next club on Sunday at Magic Park in a top-of-the-table round four clash. Also Sunday, Weston are away to Adamstown, Maitland welcome Valentine and Charlestown host Lake Macquarie. Lambton Jaffas are at home against Olympic on Saturday.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN OTHER NEWS
- NRL: Knights coach says players 'fighting for their footy lives' against Storm
- A-League: Jets veteran Topor-Stanley on track for ironman campaign ... again
- Basketball: How Wilt Chamberlain inspired Butch Hays to help form Karuah Kinnections
- Racing: Louise Day aims for Sydney apprenticeship title after flying finish to 2019-20
- Ice Hockey: Newcastle Northstars return to the rink but national season cancelled