HAMILTON skipper Kyle Hodges said news coach Michael Bolch will leave at season’s end will not be a distraction this year and the team will strive to send him out a winner.
Bolch withdrew this week his application to coach Olympic beyond this year. Hamilton was believed to have spoken to a rival club’s coach about their job for 2018. Bolch started at Hamilton in 2010 and steered them to the 2012 minor premiership, three club pointscores and two grand finals without taking the major title.
“I don’t think it will be distracting,” Hodges said of the news. “We’ll just get on with it and it would be great to send him out a winner, get him that grand final win that we’ve come so close to.”
Hodges said Bolch was “an awesome man manager” and “is just one of the guys really”.
“He’s more than just a coach to me, he’s a good friend as well,” he said.
Olympic president George Sofianos said in a club statement on Tuesday that Bolch “is a friend, and will always be welcome at Darling Street”.
“Mick has enjoyed great success as head coach since he joined us at the start of the 2010 season,” Sofianos said in the statement.
“His record speaks for itself – 2012 premiers, undefeated in 2016, two grand final appearances, and three club championships in 2012, 2014 and 2016.”
The statement detailed his regular-season record of 73 wins and 33 draws from 143 matches, with 318 goals for and 195 against.
“We look forward to Mick continuing to lead our club on the field for the remainder of the 2017 season,” Sofianos said.
“We are currently leading the club championship pointscore, and all our senior teams are well placed to qualify for the semi-finals later this year.
“As important as the on-field success the club has enjoyed under Mick’s leadership, has been the way in which Mick has represented our club. He has respected our traditions and values from day one. He has always treated club supporters and officials with the utmost respect and our relationship with Mick has always been positive and collaborative. He is a friend, and will always be welcome at Darling Street.”
The statement also included Bolch saying: “I have really enjoyed my time at Olympic and the success we have had here. I want to thank the club for their support through all the years I have been here and I look forward to finishing this season on a high note.”
Hodges was confident Olympic could challenge for silverware this season from fourth on 18 points, six behind leaders Edgeworth, after 11 games.
“We’ve haven’t had nearly a full team to pick from all year,” he said.
“The weekend gone [a 3-2 loss to Lambton Jaffas] was the first time we’ve had close to full strength.
“Danny [Ireland] has been away, which has been distracting because he’s the best keeper in the league by a mile. Tyler [Warren] has done well, but Danny is a class above everyone in the league. Leo Bertos leaving, Tommy Spencer being away for a few weeks and injuries to others, like me and the Swan brothers [Mat and Andrew]…
“But I’m confident we’ll be there at the business end.”