QUEANBEYAN Tigers defender Josh Bryce has been appointed as a first grade co-coach for next season alongside Kade Klemke.
His appointment means the club will be coached by two, 23-year-old playing co-coaches in 2014 – a situation Bryce acknowledged would pose plenty of challenges for the duo.
But with Klemke expected to return home to his family farm in Victoria at the end of the season, Bryce said the club was putting a transition plan in place for when the former NEAFL Eastern Conference coach of the year does head back south.
“I think Kade’s plan was always to give it two or three years and then to go back to the farm with his brother,” Bryce said. “That’s a part of his life that he loves which I can understand coming from a farm myself.
“I personally think he’s still got a lot to add here at Queanbeyan and even at AFL level if he was to go that way so it would be disappointing to see him leave but that’s a decision for him and his family.
“Next year will be a transition phase for me and then when Kade most likely moves on at the end of the year I can put my hand up to take on that role.”
Upon linking up with Queanbeyan in 2012, Bryce took on a transitional coaching role working with the club’s under-16s and under-18s players.
In his short time since at the Tigers, he has also served as an assistant coach with both Queanbeyan’s first grade and under-18s sides.
Bryce has also assisted with the Canberra South Coast representative program and the Western Sydney Giants Academy program.
A torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during pre-season training ruled the former VFL player out of the Tigers’ entire 2013 campaign.
But while devastated to have been forced to sit out Queanbeyan’s attempt to defend its NEAFL Eastern Conference premiership, Bryce said the injury had opened the door to unexpected coaching opportunities.
“It’s one of those things where I could have just sat back and dwelled on the negatives but you’ve got to find the positives where you can,” he said of his eight-month injury lay off.
“In terms of the coaching opportunities it’s given me it’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise.
“Not being able to play I’ve just been trying to learn as much as I can and to get as much experience as I can and hopefully that will hold me in good stead next year.”
Bryce, meanwhile, said he was hoping to return to non-contact training once the Tigers’ preseason commences next month.