By Zac Milbank (SANFL)
Dual Sturt premiership coach Marty Mattner has a new-found appreciation for the demands on his playing group as he begins his second stint with the Double Blues.
After losing his position as an assistant coach with Adelaide due to Covid-19 cost-cutting, Mattner literally rolled up his sleeves on the building site for much of this year.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, Mattner – who has a background in carpentry – was involved in everything from construction, to digging holes and driving trucks.
The 38-year-old said he had also had flashbacks to what it was like when he began playing senior football at Unley ahead of being rookie-listed by the Crows in 2002.
Mattner said he was excited by his second opportunity to guide the Double Blues, noting the playing list is considerably younger than when he left at the end of 2018.
Players such as Casey Voss, Tom Lewis, Daniel Fahey-Sparks, Rory Illman and Luke Edmonds have caught Mattner’s eye, with several more to gain plenty of opportunity.
This will come as a result of the retirements of Sam Colquhoun, Tom Harms and Byron Sumner while dual Magarey Medallist Zane Kirkwood will buck the trend by extending his illustrious career for another season.
Sturt is keeping in contact with mid-season VFL recruits Jack Handerson and Darcy Bennett, with both indicating they are likely to head back to Victoria pending their home state’s Covid-19 recovery.
Ex-Sturt juniors Riley Grundy, George Horlin-Smith, Jack Hombsch and Patrick Wilson are also on Mattner’s radar, with the latter looming as a significant difference-maker through the midfield next year.