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Master of the House

Mon, 17/01/2022, 11:44 pm
Gerard McLenaghan
by Gerard McLenaghan

There's a new Master of the House.

With the departure of Cole Mooney as Power House head coach, the club has handed the keys of the castle to former assistant coach Eric Tom.

But rather then ruling with an iron fist, one gets the sense that the calm headed Tom is more than happy to lean on his assistant coaches and senior players to help guide the team over the 2022 campaign.

“I’ve never seen my self as a head coach – I’ve always seen my role as a co-coach,” confesses Tom.

“We’ve got some good coaches (at Power House) so it’ll be good to mentor the coaches here and hopefully they can take over moving forward.

The need for a more hands on approach from his assistants not only reflects Tom’s consultant nature, but is a natural requirement for a man who also oversees the rugby program at Scotch College, a role with a significant time commitment.

The impressive Power House coaching stable includes Andrew ‘Bully Shaw as forwards coach, Luke Crameri (starter plays) who comes with experience in the Rebels academy and 2nd grade coach Jean Francois Veyssiere (who will assist with scrums and restarts).

Together, the coaching group have settled on a mission statement that’ll direct them in season ’22 – to develop a culture of mateship that develops a brand of rugby which is fast, entertaining and expansive.

For a side that developed a reputation under Cole Mooney as a fearsome set-piece unit, the expansive intent might seem an interesting decision.

For Tom, who will continue to manage the attack portfolio, it’s a necessary direction his team must take.

“Off the back of that scrum last year, we really focussed on scoring off first phase, and usually we either scored or created line-breaks,” says Tom, who presents data from his season review to support that fact.

“But now we’ve lost three blokes through retirement, including Wiz (2021 Dewar Shield captain Rian Wisemantle), and one bloke has moved interstate.

“If you look at the profile of the team, we’re not overly the biggest team in the competition, but our skillset is right up there.

“We’ve got to utilise our skillset to know what we can do with the ball and where we can move the ball to skin teams on attack.”

Having been involved with Power House for nine seasons now, Tom’s elevation to head coach is nothing new; he previously held the role in 2017 after an initial stint as Dewar Shield coach for Moorabbin from 2008-10.

Those early years as a coach finding his feet taught Tom many lessons, but he also had the added benefit of learning from his own father who had also coached first grade at Moorabbin and Kiwi Hawthorn.

“That was dad’s style; that hard nose, lots of running and fitness style. It was part of that era too, where you would turn up to preseason and wouldn’t touch a ball until February or March.

Whilst his father doesn’t get to see too many Power House games these days, Tom confesses he still enjoys breaking down the finer points of coaching with his old man by analysing their beloved Hurricanes each weekend.

The experience of coaching kids in his role as Scotch College head coach has also shaped Tom, particularly as he reflects on how much he’s evolved since he started coaching over a decade ago.

“For me, I think now it’s about being calm. Back then, it was more about getting the boys up, get the blood pressure up and now the focus is more on mental toughness and mental focus,” observes Tom.

“Back then I was just a young coach trying to fire up (the players) to go out and smash the opposition. I’d be one of those coaches where you’d walk past our locker room pre-game and hear the players shouting and getting their blood pressure up.

“I’ve learnt more now about dealing with players individually and focussing on their individual preparation.”

Power House training gets underway tonight at Noel Clarke Field, Albert Park (6:30pm). All players welcome – men, women, colts and masters.

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