LORNE has landed one of the recruits of the season after appointing four-time GFL premiership ruckman Sam Stavenuiter as the club’s new playing coach.
Stavenuiter, 26, has enjoyed a decorated career that includes four flags with South Barwon, two years with the Geelong Falcons as a junior, and two years with Geelong’s VFL team.
The 195-centimetre big man said he was looking forward to taking on his first coaching role with the Dolphins.
Stavenuiter said he and fellow South Barwon footballers had created a bond with Lorne during fundraising efforts for paralysed teammate Casey Tutungi in recent years.
“I’d never really thought about coaching but I had a bit of interest this season,” he said.
“Lorne just seemed like the best fit for me, and I’m pretty excited to take on the role.”
Stavenuiter grew up playing with South Barwon and joined the Falcons in 2006 and ’07 before joining the Cats’ VFL team the following two seasons, amassing 15 games at VFL level.
He played a key role in the ruck in South Barwon’s 2009 premiership against St Josephs, 2010 and ’12 premierships against Bell Park, and 2013 flag against Grovedale.
He spent the 2011 season in Queensland with North East Australian Football League team Aspley, playing alongside Colac Tigers stars James Linton and Micah Buchanan, and new Lorne teammate Callum Buchanan.
Stavenuiter played with mates this year at Bears Lagoon Serpentine Football Club in the Loddon Valley Football League, winning the best-and-fairest award.
Lorne president Ken Hosking said the club was rapt to have the experienced big man join the pod.
“We were looking for a playing coach, and somebody from within the club put Sam’s name forward and we pursued and found out he was interested,” he said.
“He’s a very talented player and he’s just starting out on his coaching career, we think we’re fortunate to have him at the club.
“We’ve been building the club over the last 12 months, hopefully this will take us further forward and give the juniors something to aspire to.”