Sport

Cameron Hotton finishes up at Mansfield

By Alex Mitchell

It will be a new-look Mansfield side next Goulburn Valley League season with its coach and captain not part of the line-up.

Coach Cameron Hotton will vacate his role, stepping back from his duties after three years at the helm, while captain and forward Ben Fagan will depart the club, heading to Queensland for family reasons.

It is somewhat of a changing of the guard at an interesting time for the Eagles, having recently won their first final since 2009.

Hotton’s departure comes as no shock to the club, having informed the club pre-season it would be his last.

‘‘I’ve got my own business and my oldest son goes into under-14s next season, which means he’s travelling to Wangaratta and Benalla,’’ Hotton said.

‘‘I probably haven’t given into junior footy much, I’ve always been involved in the senior footy, so I think it’s probably time to hand over the reins.

‘‘I told the club this year would be my last so we could try and get an assistant coach that would take over next year, but unfortunately we weren’t able to do that.’’

He hands over the keys with a 22-1-31 overall record, yet clearly with the senior side in a better position than when he began, having progressed from eighth in 2015 to this season’s final four.

Hotton said he had enjoyed the experience and felt the side was in a strong position from which to build.

‘‘All you can ask from day one is they’re having a crack — skill errors, you can cop skill errors, but you can’t cop when they aren’t having a crack,’’ Hotton said.

‘‘We’ve come on in leaps and bounds, I think just the style of footy we’re playing is a lot different.

‘‘It’s a good young group that wants to learn and get better at their footy. We probably just need a bit more depth and a bit more height.’’

Further height heads out of the club with Fagan though, the forward having kicked 45 goals this season.

‘‘He’s been a stalwart of the club, obviously captain the last three years,’’ Hotton said.

‘‘He’s a leader and just the way he goes about things is fantastic. He’ll be a big loss, but hopefully we can get a few extra numbers to the club and fill his spot.’’

Hotton confirmed Corowa-Rutherglen duo James Lawton and Brent Rose intended to play with the club next season, after being denied a clearance to the Eagles at the beginning of the year.

They moved to the high country for work, yet their previous club refused to let them out of the second year of two-year contracts.

It was a blow to the Eagles’ stocks that Hotton felt had badly hindered their potential to compete this season.

‘‘The fact is if we had have had those couple of extra blokes from Corowa, I think we probably could have gone deeper,’’ Hotton said.

‘‘They’ve both said they’re coming to play next year, and the majority of the list will stay together.

‘‘(Ruckman Lawton) could have pushed forward, similar to what the other top teams have got. That is a frustrating thing that we didn’t have the tall timber to go with the opposition ruckmen.’’