Sport

Star coach set to retire

By Southern Riverina News

Finley under 14s coach Mark Milthorpe (pictured) has announced he will be turning in the magnetic white board at the end of the 2018 season.

Milthorpe, 63, started coaching the under 14s in 2009 to 2011 before coming back to the role last year, and during his absence from the under 14s he coached the reserves in 2014 and 2015.

He joined the Finley Cats in 1999 when he arrived in the town after coming from ‘‘all over the place’’, however originally was from Stanhope, where he played the majority of his footy.

During his time at the club he spent four years as a selector and four years as an assistant coach for the under 17s.

Milthorpe also volunteers his time behind the bar.

One of his best memories as coach was with the 2010 undefeated premiership side.

He said everything about that team was special.

‘‘They had a lot of great character about them. I still keep in touch with some of the players and hope they’re doing well.’’

As somebody who has spent his coaching time with younger players, he said being a mentor is the best part of coaching.

‘‘At that level of under 14s it’s so important to get their skills like kicking and handballing right.

‘‘When they get a bit older they can’t be taught the basic skills.

‘‘It’s very special to see the development of these kids not only as footballers but as citizens.’’

This season his under 14s have won eight games and are sitting sixth on the ladder but Milthorpe isn’t concerned about winning.

‘‘It’s all about their work ethic and improvement,’’ he said.

‘‘Every week they’re getting better both on and off the field.

‘‘Players are going to make mistakes so it’s important for them to learn from those mistakes.’’

Milthorpe would like to thank club president Ashley Haynes, assistant coaches Chris Koschel, Roger Sutton and Phil Beasley and the committee for their support over his time as coach.