Photo:  Chris Hey at Glenorchy Knights training this week [PlessPix]

Chris Hey is the Glenorchy Knights coach for the 2012 Southern Premier League season.

I spoke to him this week about his appointment at a club he has coached before and about his plans and pre-season training.


Photo:  Chris Hey (extreme left, back row) during his previous stint as Knights coach in 2003 [PlessPix]

Walter Pless: Chris, you have coached the Knights before.  What will you do differently this time?

Chris Hey: Win a League title, hopefully.  It’s important to create a competitive environment, whereby all players are aware of the need to perform on a weekly basis to maintain their position.  For that, you need quality and depth, and, with the player group we have training, that is coming along.

WP: How is pre-season training going?

CH: Good.  There are some players we have not seen as yet, due to other sporting commitments, but all in all, I am finding the players’ attitudes are excellent and they are willing to work hard into the pre-season.  There is a strong and large committee group on board, so everything is heading in the right direction.

WP: Will you recruit new players and, if so, who?

CH: It is a must, as losing Gregoire and Corey Smith are huge losses.  There are players I have previously coached, and have a lot of respect for, who I would like to see come to the club.  We will wait and see.  It is fair to say we have had an impressive number of new players in attendance and they have blended in well with the Knights players of 2011.  The attitude and commitment of all players at training has been excellent.  In terms of players, there is one missing link and I am hopeful he will touch base soon.

WP: What are your aims this coming season?

CH: To be highly competitive against all opposition, and to have a higher win-to-loss ratio.

WP: Can the Knights finish in the top-four?

CH: Yes.

WP: Will your son, Jayden, join Knights?

CH: I think most people believe he will drift across with me to the Knights.  We have not discussed that and he will be the one, without influence from his parents, to make that decision and I will support him in whatever decision he makes.  He has not trained with Knights and is focussed on his athletics.  It is not always honey and roses coaching your own child, or being coached by your parent.  If other clubs approach him, all well and good.


Photo:  Chris Hey with his Knights side at South Hobart in 2002 [PlessPix]

WP: What are the training facilities at Prince of Wales Bay like?

CH: No too bad, really.  The size of the two training areas is big and the club is working on improvements to the facilities in consultation with the Glenorchy City Council.  The ground surface is spongy, which is easy on the feet this time of year.  Beats Cadbury hands down.

WP: Who will win the 2012 title?

CH: South Hobart is top pick again, although they have lost a number of players, but I believe things will be a lot tighter up at the top end with a number of clubs.  Kingborough and Eagles have impressive young squads who have developed well over the past couple of years and are ready to take the next step.  Zebras will again be there, and Olympia will spare nothing to ensure they are top-4, leading into 2013 State League, so it’s anyone’s game really. Never rule out Clarence.

WP: Do you favour a State League, as proposed for 2013?

CH: I have always favoured State League, but only if we can sustain the league for a prolonged period of time and not have it as a fly-by-night.  I get the feeling a lot of the top-tier clubs are not financially ready for it but will apply to stay in the top league.  That concerns me.  If there is no substantial major sponsor, I don’t believe it should happen.  I was a player in both the two previous eras of State League and there were a number of issues then which I don’t believe will change.  One will be over time, with relegation, a potential imbalance of teams from North and South after a couple of years.  Added financial pressure, additional travel etc.


Photo:  Chris Hey addresses the Knights players at training last Wednesday [PlessPix]

WP: Are you relishing the prospect of playing Olympia next season?

CH: Although my ties with the club have been severed for good, I still have a good number of friends at the club, both on and off the park.  They have a fantastic facility and I look forward to playing against their three quality Italians and whoever else they bring over.  It is good for the game.  My focus as coach won’t change just because we are playing Olympia.

WP: How can football in Tasmania be improved?

CH: Best affordable competition available in the state, with the focus on a highly competitive league.  If that means limiting team numbers, so be it.  I would not like to see SPL expand any more as the quality of players is simply not available.  Set strict licence compliance with youth development component.  Play-off for promotion/relegation.  Club accountability, similar to that of hockey (referees for junior games, etc).  FFT push for a youth team in the FFA youth competition.  Interstate and overseas players.  More clubs to develop their own interstate partnerships and youth pathways in addition to that already available through FFT and FFA.