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Brown to lead Magpies in VFL

COLLINGWOOD has appointed former captain and assistant coach Gavin Brown as senior coach of the club's stand-alone VFL side.

Brown will coach the side in its first year in the competition, after the Magpies announced the termination of the formal alignment they previously held with VFL side Williamstown back in September.

In place of that partnership, the club is set to launch its own VFL team, with the objective of enhancing player development.

Brown, who has served four seasons as an assistant coach after fulfilling the role of strength and conditioning assistant following his retirement in 2000, is excited to be given the opportunity to try his hand at a senior appointment.

"It's a great opportunity for me, personally, but it's also fantastic for the club to be able to fast-track our players and develop them the way we want to do it," he told collingwoodfc.com.au.

"I think it's going to be a fairly significant change for the club, there's no doubt about that. We had a terrific alignment with Williamstown, and it was possibly the best in the competition.

"But still, at the end of the day, there were issues as Williamstown is obviously there to win footy, and we want to win games of footy too, but at the same time, sometimes you feel it's more important to actually develop the player.

"That's our No.1 priority, not that we don't want to win, but we certainly want to develop our players to their fullest potential, as quickly as possible."

Brown said the advantages of fielding the new side would not only exist in developing young players, but also result in the obtainment of more control over which positions the Magpies' listed members play in when taking the field at VFL level.  

"This way, we can play whoever we want, wherever we want. The other thing is, our young players will all play senior footy, whereas in the past, we've had players in the Williamstown seconds because of the system," he said.

"That's not fantastic for development, whereas this way, they're going to be playing senior VFL football every week, and in the positions exactly where we want them to play, with total control."

On a personal front, the triple best and fairest said undertaking his first major appointment will confirm whether he wants to pursue a career at the helm of an AFL senior list.

"It's going to show me if it's something I want to keep aspiring to do, and what better opportunity for that than getting your own side?" he said.

"You can think you want to do it, but the proof is in the pudding, really. I think this will tell me if I want to do it, and I think I want to do it and most people do, but then it will also show me if I'm capable of doing it.

"I think it's one thing to do it, and it's another thing to be able to do it – and do it well."

He also said he was excited to be involved with the side from the word go, and was looking forward to the challenge of completely constructing a team.

"We have an opportunity, because we're starting from the ground up, to put our own slant on it and do it the way we think is best, and not necessarily the way it's been done before," he said.

"If we think there is a better way of doing it, we think there is a better opportunity now because we're starting from scratch to do that.

"First we have to work out a training schedule, training times, and we've got to get a list of VFL contracted players together, so whether that be players who've been delisted as rookies or on senior lists at other clubs, we'll target those sorts of players.

"There's probably going to be, on average, 14, 15 or 16 AFL-listed players who are going to play every week, so if that's 15, then we're going to need another seven VFL-listed players, so we've got to go down that path and make sure we get the right people for that.

"That's a really important step, and we have to get all the times right and prioritising, as well as get more staff. Every time you turn the page, there's something you haven't thought of, so it's a massive logistical exercise.

"But, we've made great in-roads this week. We've got together some key staff, so that's been another massive step.

"It's more exciting than daunting – it's what we do, and there is a fair bit of work involved, but everyone is really excited and really looking forward to it," Brown said.

Williamstown has since announced a new partnership with the Western Bulldogs, after the Dogs terminated their previous agreement with Werribee.