New Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan doesn’t believe age will be an issue as he aims to transform the AFL’s battlers.
Fagan, 55, dismissed any problems with the generation gap as he identified working with a talented young list and building a strong culture as key reasons why he took the job.
The former Hawthorn football manager, who has held a variety of roles at the highly-successful Hawks, said his ability to developing young players was a strength.
“Hopefully I’m a trailblazer for other 55-year-olds,” said Fagan after being appointed to a three-year deal on Tuesday.
“I think I’ve had a great apprenticeship and I’ve done a lot of different roles in football clubs and I think that’s going to stand me in good stead.”
Fagan has a massive task to turn Brisbane around after they won just 14 of 66 matches under Justin Leppitsch over the past three seasons and finished second-last this year.
A key figure at Hawthorn, he becomes the sixth current AFL coach to have worked under four-time flag-winner Alastair Clarkson.
Fagan was Clarkson’s right-hand man from late in the 2013 season, helping them to three straight premierships.
Fagan also had several football department roles at Melbourne before joining the Hawks.
Despite being 36 when he first worked as an assistant coach under Neale Daniher at the Demons, he said he’d always maintained an ambition to be a senior AFL coach.
“I’m a bit like a mature-age recruit,” he said. “You think you’re not going to get there and then when you get the opportunity those boys give it their best shot. I’m going to give it my best shot.
“Brisbane have a really talented young list and their best football is ahead of them.
“They really need a coach who can develop that talent and I feel like that’s one of my great strengths.”
New Brisbane football boss David Noble held a similar role at Adelaide and Fagan said the Crows and Hawks had first-rate cultures.
“One of things that (Lions chief executive Greg Swanny) thought that was needed here … we could actually build that culture,” Fagan said.
Fagan was non-committal about captain Tom Rockliff’s standing while Noble said the club wouldn’t comment about vice-captain Pearce Hanley’s future following speculation he could be traded.
Noble said the club didn’t need to rebuild but would have to be smarter about how they manage their list, which will include a No.2 draft choice, as well as a potential priority pick.
“We have to become relevant in the competition again,” he said.