Hasleby bites bait to coach
The lure of a high-performance coaching role with South Fremantle was the bait that convinced retired Docker Paul Hasleby to continue his playing career at the WAFL club next season.
Hasleby, 29, has signed with the Bulldogs under a deal where he will fill dual playing and coaching roles in the wake of his recent AFL retirement.
His coaching responsibilities will involve working with the club’s promising youngsters in a mentoring capacity under senior coach John Dimmer.
He is also aiming to finish his level three high-performance accreditation next year with an eye to a potential coaching future in AFL ranks.
Hasleby, who has only committed to a one-year deal but has not ruled out playing in the WAFL for two seasons, said the prospect of the high-performance role rather than his personal connections to the club led to his decision to join the Bulldogs.
His manager, Anthony van der Wielen, is a board member at South Fremantle, while close friend Kris Miller plays with the Bulldogs.
“It’s obviously a very successful club down here at Souths and my long-term plan is to get into coaching and I thought it was a good way to have a year out of (AFL) footy, but also stay involved in a high- performance role here at South Fremantle,” Hasleby said.
“It was just the best opportunity, in my opinion, to develop myself to the level that’s needed.”
The deal trumped his club of origin, East Fremantle, and reigning premiers Swan Districts, who are understood to have also vied for Hasleby’s services.
Hasleby was drafted from the Sharks at the end of 1999 following a season where he played 18 games for East Fremantle and won their club champion award.
His AFL career spanned 11 seasons and left him fourth in terms of the most games played for Fremantle, but was devoid of September success with just two finals appearances to his name.
The 2003 All-Australian played 20 matches for Fremantle this year, but was dropped for the club’s two finals, including a stirring 30-point victory over Hawthorn.
Hasleby said he was aiming to play every match for South Fremantle next year.
“I’m a pretty competitive person,” he said.
“Once I set my mind to something, I generally follow through.
“I’m looking forward to a big challenge.
“I haven’t played many finals throughout my career and it’d be very nice like Peter Bell and Jeff Farmer did to finish their careers with a title and that’s the ambition next year.”
The club secured the 2009 premiership with Bell and Farmer in their ranks after both Fremantle stars opted to finish their playing careers with their former WAFL club.
South Fremantle will be banking on the recent signings of Hasleby and former Collingwood defender Shannon Cox spearheading a return to finals next year following a disappointing season in which they failed to reach September to defend their flag.
Bulldogs football operations manager Brent Dawkins flagged their high-profile recruit would return predominantly to the midfield role where he won four Ross Glendinning medals as best afield in western derbies.
Hasleby will join the club’s pre-season training next week.