FORMER FALCON RETURNS TO WEST PERTH AS COLTS COACH

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 2:50 PM by Chris Pike

A FAMILIAR face will be coaching West Perth's colts in 2017 with the appointment of former player and football operations manager Ryan Lasscock to the role at the Falcons.

Craig Thomas is moving on as coach of the West Perth colts after five years at the helm that was highlighted with him named WAFL Colts Coach of the Year in 2015 having led the Falcons back into the finals.

Now the West Perth Football Club is glad to announce the return to the Falcons of Ryan Lasscock as colts coach at least for the 2017 and 2018 WAFL seasons.

Lasscock is a former West Perth player back in 1999 before being a regional development officer in 2001 and 2002, youth development officer in 2003 and 2004, and then football operations manager from 2005 through to 2009.

Lasscock then moved to Claremont in 2010 and has been chairman of selections and an assistant coach since as part of a team that finished on top of the ladder four times, played in three grand finals and won two premierships at league level.

But coaching in his own right was something Lasscock wanted the opportunity to do and now to be able to do that back at West Perth is something he is looking forward to.

"It was an opportunity that came up and I've been thinking about it for a while. The role at Claremont had allowed me to do a bit of coaching," Lasscock said.

"Obviously that wasn’t in my own right but I was doing some line coaching here and there, and player reviews and the like. Coaching my own team was always something I wanted to do and everything fell into place for me to get this opportunity.

"The club is special to me and it's just a great opportunity to coach at this level. I'm really grateful for the opportunity and I'm fully aware that there's only nine of these jobs going around so they are coveted and the club needs to get the decision right. I'm really thankful for the opportunity."

Lasscock has enjoyed his roles at Claremont in the past seven years but he was waiting for life at home to become a little less hectic before putting his hand up to coach a team.

"It has been something I wanted to do but I just had to be patient to make sure it was the right time to fit into how we work as a family unit," he said.

"My wife is a principal at a new school up in Banksia Grove which is only in its second year so she has spent 18 months putting that together which has been pretty crazy from her side of things.

"It was just a matter of finding something that fit in with our family structure to allow me to get into coaching full steam ahead."

When Lasscock was last involved at West Perth as football manager he saw the likes of Aaron Black, Shane Nelson, Nick Rodda and Laine Rasmussen developing. They are now stars at league level and were all significant parts of the 2013 premiership side.

That's something he wants to be part of creating again with the young talent he works with in the colts side and turning them in to regular league footballers of the future.

"That 2013 premiership side was built around guys like Black, Nelson and Rodda, and that's how you win flags now by getting a really good core of your own players and build around those. We will now continue to do that with the colts program," Lasscock said.

"Thommo did an amazing job in the time he was running the program and it's a really unique one with the demographic the club's got. Something that helps me with that is having worked in the club previously and in the district so I have a pretty good knowledge of what you face as a club.

"For me it's just about trying to build on what Thommo and the club have put in place, and try to put in a couple of things I've seen work well elsewhere. We won't go away from the fact that we are trying to produce league footballers, I don’t think we want our sole focus to be on wins and losses.

"Within our district our players don't seem to be as developed when they get to 17 or 18 but we need to make sure we keep producing good league footballers which is what West Perth has continued to do."

Lasscock was part of a successful era once he first arrived at Claremont in 2010 with the next four years featuring four straight minor premierships, three grand finals and two premierships.

Claremont's also had three Sandover Medallists in his time including this year's winner Jye Bolton while he's helped with success in the reserves including this year's team that is playing in Sunday's grand final against East Perth under another West Perth great Kepler Bradley.

He is proud of his time at Claremont and has no doubt that the Tigers are well placed for some success again as early as 2017 under a new coach after Michael Broadbridge stood down.

"It's obviously been a really enjoyable time winning games and winning finals, and even our reserves have had a lot of success as well. There was the Foxtel Cup in there as well so it was a busy time in those early years particularly and you look back and wonder how we fit it all in," he said.

"But it was really enjoyable and we all pushed each other, and were really successful for a period of time. It would have been nice if it lasted longer but when you lose 18 premiership players in 18 months it makes it tough.

"But Claremont is set for another crack at it with what Broady has done with this group and the under 21s are really good. The Claremont structure produces good footballers year after year from the colts upwards. It's just about being able to transition them into really good league footballers."

Lasscock's younger brother Clayton is a possibility to help out with the colts in 2017 depending on his role at Cervantes while there is a chance some other former Falcons return to help out. But overall Lasscock doesn’t see a need to change a lot of what is in place with the colts program.

"We've had a chat and he's still working out what he's doing footy-wise next year and what he can commit to. He coached and played at Cervantes this year and there was some talk it was his last game, but I don’t think you ever play your last game with Cervantes," Lasscock said.

"He might now just coach or play and coach, or not be involved at all so we'll wait and see. We've also made some calls to former teammates of mine but as far as assistant coaches go we are well placed already at the club.

"They have a really good program in place so anyone we bring in would be to top up that program whether it's in a leadership, mentoring or specialised coaching role."