Rudgley agrees to guide the Bluedogs

TOP DOG: Joel Rudgley in action for Thistles, with whom he spent a couple of seasons. Rudgley will coach Bangalow in the FNC premier league this year.
TOP DOG: Joel Rudgley in action for Thistles, with whom he spent a couple of seasons. Rudgley will coach Bangalow in the FNC premier league this year. FILE

BANGALOW has appointed star midfielder Joel Rudgley as its player-coach for the 2014 Far North Coast premier league soccer season.

At just 25, Rudgley will have his first taste of coaching at the top level and will be the youngest of the 10 prem-ier league coaches.

After coaching women's and junior sides and being named 2010 women's premier coach of the year, he will now make the leap to his first senior men's appointment.

"It's been at the back of my mind for a while, but I didn't think it would happen so soon," Rudgley said.

The Bluedogs made a strong return to the top ranks last season, going all the way to the semi-finals under former coach Mark Shephard.

But his departure left a void, encouraging Rudgley to take on the challenge.

"The club needed someone and I didn't want to see all the hard work of last year go to waste," he said.

"It's an exciting challenge."

Rudgley turned down an offer to play with Murwillum-bah in the Gold Coast Prem-ier League to take on the Bangalow coaching duties and will be looking at a change of style.

"Last year we used a 4-4-2 system, but I'll be looking at a more attacking 4-3-3 to get overlapping fullbacks forward for numbers in the attacking third," he said.

"I don't see my age as a disadvantage. It will be a bigger challenge being a player-coach, but I'm sure I'll get plenty of support."



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