His AFL coaching career is starting almost as suddenly as his playing one ended, and Essendon’s Matthew Egan believes his own journey can help the Bombers.
Egan was in just his third season as an AFL player when a foot injury in 2007 forced him to watch from the sidelines as Geelong claimed that year’s premiership.
Despite two years of effort, Egan would never play in the AFL again and hung up his boots in 2009.
Now the 32-year-old will be back on the centre stage on Saturday when he takes charge of the Bombers as their interim coach against Gold Coast following James Hird’s midweek resignation.
Egan feels the lessons he’s learnt since his career-ending injury will help him as he tries to salvage some pride from the Bombers’ disastrous and turbulent 2015 campaign.
“There’s no doubt I’ve drawn on it the last two years,” Egan said.
“What you learn is empathy and some things like that and how to deal with these situations.
“At the end of my career, it was a tough time, so you do learn a lot over the journey.”
While a newcomer to the head coach role, Egan is far from a new face with the Bombers.
An assistant at the Bombers since 2012, Egan has been on the club’s coaching panel throughout the entire supplements saga which resulted in former golden boy Hird walking away from Windy Hill on Tuesday.
Refusing to be drawn on his long-term ambitions, Egan says bringing enjoyment back to a club he’s come to love is his first goal.
He’ll be out to do that on Saturday against a Suns outfit which is similarly undermanned and has also endured a 2015 campaign to forget.
“As a group I need them to get to play as a team again,” Egan said.
“Get some excitement and joy about playing. The last few weeks hasn’t looked like much fun and obviously the results have been the same.
“If I can get them playing as a team and get them enjoying training and playing again, the results take care of itself.”
The Bombers were forced to deny media reports key midfielder Brendon Goddard had missed the flight to Queensland on Friday, with some speculating he’d been ruled out due to an existing ankle problem.
But the club later posted a photo of Goddard in Queensland to hose down those reports.
The Bombers have made five changes from the side beaten last weekend by Adelaide with defender Michael Hurley returning after missing the last two games with a knee injury.
Shaun McKernan has been included for Jonathan Giles (knee) while Nick O’Brien, Patrick Ambrose and Orazio Fantasia were the others called up for the Suns clash.