Aaron Byrne, Stephen Howse and Mark Ward.

On Sunday the Cootamundra Bulldogs announced the exciting news that dedicated Bulldog Aaron Byrne will be coaching the first-grade team alongside Mark Ward.

Aaron has been with the team since junior football and understands the team’s culture and community.

Aaron has had plenty of success as the club, first-grade coach, in the past and the Bulldogs will be hoping that this time is no different.

Since being brought into the club four years ago, Mark Ward has left an imprint on the Cootamundra Bulldogs Club, contributing in numerous amount of roles like manager, strapper, first aid and assistant coach.

Mark now gets his chance to lead the side along with Aaron and no doubt the pair will give their all for the Bulldogs as they’ve done for years.

Mark is looking forward to stepping up to the head coaching role.

“It’s a big challenge, but teaming up with Aaron is a good fit and hopefully we can go a few steps further next year,” said Mark.

“Hopefully we can retain most of the team from last year and pick up a few players that can add to the team that would be a bonus.

“It’d be good to get some more depth. The season’s long and cold and when you get a few injuries you need a certain amount of luck.

“We had five or six guys step up last year and they were exceptional, we will want more of the same next year introducing younger guys to first grade and the harder more physical style of football.

“Aaron and I have a good collaboration. When I was assisting Jordy (Jordyn Ballard) last year I had plenty to do with Aaron and spoke to him often.

“We have plenty of things to set up before next season but I’m looking forward to it,” Mark continued.

After losing in the finals to the eventual competition winners the Crookwell Green Devils, Aaron and Mark will be looking to build upon the club’s successful 2022 and hopefully bring the team more silverware to add to the collection in 2023.

Though Jordyn Ballard is stepping down as the team’s head coach, Mark is hopeful Ballard will play on with the Bulldogs.

“He’s one of the most talented and best players in the competition,” Mark said.

“When I spoke to him he indicated that he was very keen on staying on with the Club.

“It’ll free him up a lot more to focus on himself, taking the coaching burden off him will hopefully be a huge relief and he can concentrate on his own footy a bit more,” Mark continued.

Mark and Aaron may not be the only coaching news the Bulldogs have with them hinting on Facebook that there might be more coming soon.

Tully Potts