Familiar face returns to Williamstown

New Williamstown coach Justin Plapp. Picture supplied

Tara Murray

There’s a sense of familiarity for new Williamstown coach Justin Plapp.

Appointed in late November, Plapp returns to the club where he was an assistant coach in 2011.

With many of the same faces still around, Plapp is excited to return.

“I said to the guys it seems familiar for me,” he said.

“There’s still a lot of the people at the club from when I coached in 2011. The fabric that makes the club tick.

“I know Stephen Soulsby and Jason Reddick from an admin side. We crossed paths when I was with Casey.

“I’ve dealt with some of the players and have some relationships.

“Some of the volunteers have been around the club for a long time.

“I’m nervous about the role, but in a good way. I’m going into this role with a lot of clarity and a real confidence.”

Plapp has been busy coaching since he left the Seagulls at the end of 2011, including stints as head coach at NAB League club Sandringham Dragons and senior coach with VFL side Casey Demons.

The past three seasons he has been an assistant coach with Melbourne.

Having spent four and half months in Queensland with Melbourne for the AFL season, Plapp used the time to reconsider his football future.

“I was in a position to make a decision on what I wanted to do,” he said.

“I have a young family and spent four and half months away from them. I had time to reflect on what is important to me.

“It’s family and to balance those two things is really important to me. AFL can take you away from a lot of that.”

One of the things that attracted Plapp to the Williamstown role was being able to coach a stand-alone side.

The Casey Demons are aligned with Melbourne.

“I’ve been involved with an alignment and enjoyed it and it was good for my development,” Plapp said.

“This is the challenge of developing my own side. I’m 42 now and I want to embrace the program and what I believe in, which is exciting.

“My time at the VFL level, I’ve seen Williamstown is really respected and has a proud history. I hear nothing but good things. Collo [Andy Collins] has done a fabulous job and I’ll embrace it, evolve and improve it.”

Plapp comes on board as the VFL enters a new phase, with the club to play in an expanded eastern seaboard competition.

He said he thought they had done a good job in setting it up.

For now he is working on a coaching panel and putting the list together.

“We’ve retained a lot of players from last year and they will play an important role,” he said.

“We’ve got a few spots to fill. We’ll let what happens in the draft play out.

“We’re happy with where the list is at.”