Hillan swoops on role with Magpies

SINCE taking over the top grade coaching job at Orange City in 2008, Andy Hillan has seen it all.

There’s been two consecutive eighth finishes in the Blowes Clothing Cup in 2008 and 2009, two heartbreaking preliminary final losses in 2010 and 2011 and of course, two undefeated premierships in 2012 and 2013.

Hillan has been an integral part of Orange City’s resurgence over the past six years as a mentor, while also strapping the boots on in the Lions’ lower grade teams.

Including the time Hillan spent as a player alone, he has been an Orange City Lion for over 15 years.

In 2014, Hillan will leave the Lions coaching and playing ranks to take up the head coach role at the 2013 Australian National Field Days [now Graincorp] Cup-winning Molong Magpies this season.

“I’ll definitely miss Orange City,” he said.

“They’re a great bunch of blokes and it’s such a family-based club. Being there for such a long time makes it difficult to leave. But, I’m really looking forward to taking on Molong.”

Hillan said he made the decision to take up the position as a new challenge.

“I was coaching at City by myself for a while, but I’ve been doing it with Mick (Gray) and Steve (Hamson) for a few years now,” Hillan explained.

“I wanted a new, individual challenge. Coaching Molong gives me the chance to take over as a head coach again, and everything I’ve learned from Mick and Steve will be invaluable in doing so.”

Last year will be a hard one to top for the Magpies but Hillan said if the players take on a few different ideas in 2014, Molong’s 60th anniversary, there is no reason they can’t win a second consecutive title.

“Speaking to a few of the players from last year, they are hoping to focus on a bit more defensively this year,” Hillan said.

“I haven’t spoken to last year’s coach yet, but I think we’ve lost a few players from last year, but being the anniversary year no doubt a few guys will come back to the club.”

Molong starts pre-season training on Tuesday, at Dr Ross Memorial Oval (aka the Rec) in Molong, at 6pm.

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