Notice of 2020 AGM

Become the best version of yourself: Coach Hayden Rickard Interview

Coming into pre-season a real sense of fresh air at East Coast ushered the Eagles playing group and community into a new era, following Lindsay Scown’s decision to step down from his head coaching post.

The 2020 season will embark a changing of the guard in the Eagles Nest as we welcome our new head coach: Hayden Rickard.

Hayden Rickard

  • Age: 44 years old
  • Family: Getting married in the new year, one daughter, inheriting three children and two grandchildren from partner
  • Hometown: Originally from Oamaru, New Zealand
  • AFL Club Followed: Religiously grew up on Rugby Union, following AFL in the same mould as he does the NBA by following a favourite player – Cyril Rioli

Now that I have the logistics covered, let me present to you the man tasked with leading our great club into the future, and his unique story to tell……


Q: Hayden, where are you from and what brings you to Sydney?

A: So I am originally from New Zealand, a place called Oamaru, located on the Eastern Seaboard. I moved to Australia in 1998 where I have been based in remote Northern Territory in a place called Nhulunbuy. During my time in NT, I was very fortunate to work with local Indigenous people, setting up football programs from scratch which helped take my coaching to the next level. My family and I have made the decision to move to Sydney to support our children’s education.

Q: What are your experiences in Australian Rules Football?

A: I have had very fortunate experiences in this sport. I was originally headhunted in the community to use football as a vehicle, leading to full-time coaching employment. My local club was in Nhulunbuy – Djarrak Football Club, who play in the Gove AFL competition, a small remote competition in the Northern Territory. The players in the program at our club were fortunate enough to play footy 12 months a year. Outside of this, I would spend time preparing players for the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) with the Darwin Buffaloes. I have also been fortunate enough to dip my toe in and build an extensive football knowledge from opportunities with many different professional organizations such as NT Thunder, Geelong and Richmond Football clubs.

Q: What are your experiences in other sporting arenas?

A: Throughout my coaching career in Australian Rules Football, I have been fortunate to develop my mantras with opportunities at many different professional sporting organizations. These include the Sydney Kings basketball, sporting organizations in the US and in the world of New Zealand Rugby.

Q: What attracted you to the East Coast Eagles?

A: Upon our family’s decision to relocate, I reached out and looked at the Sydney AFL landscape. Immediately, the East Coast Eagles stood out to me, observing their website and social media platforms really proved to me that the Eagles Nest carried themselves as a strong brand in the community with a real level of professionalism. Through meetings with Paul Eastman, Jon Gawley, David Arndt and Ben Bourke, I gained a strong sense of commitment at the club that I wanted to become a part of. I was thrilled to be offered the head coaching position.

Q: What are your approaches to building a strong football club both on and off the field?

A: For me on and off-field go hand-in-hand to building sustainable success. Having conversations with people in and around the club indicated to me that there was already a strong culture, which was great for me as I market myself as a culture coach. I believe off-field culture directly impacts sustainable on-field success, but I recognise that this can be hard to define. For me culture encapsulates the little things like shaking hands before and after training, sweeping sheds and presenting ourselves in the best shape we can. The biggest measurement of culture is how you are measured in other circles and this is player driven.

Q: How important is pre-season in building a base for the season ahead?

A: Pre-season is vital, an opportunity for me to understand different personalities at the club and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in order to develop a plan of attack to ensure we are competitive across all grades. At the moment for me its early stages and I am enjoying getting a feel for individuals who I may see as an alpha with a strong skillset but then lets themselves down through a lack of talk, and vice versa. It is important for me to build strong training habits into the group and learn how to train our style which is still developing as we continue the preseason block into the New Year.

Q: What are your expectations for your leadership group?

A: I live by the old adage that leaders create leaders. Leadership can be measured through how current leaders put aside egos to bring through new leaders. This will be a key indicator for my leadership group within the Eagles Nest.


During the first weeks of pre-season Coach H’s values have concentrated on taking time with the footy to prevent repeated mistakes, imparting on players that perfection is not an entitlement but rather something that can be earned over time with dedication to the craft.

“Become the best version of yourself”

This is an expression Coach H has used consistently thus far in pre-season, a strong indication of how Hayden views the role of coaching footballers as people, and how we should measure ourselves in all walks of life.

Without doubt there is plenty to look forward to and be excited about this coming season at the East Coast Eagles, and as a player I personally cannot wait to become part of the journey Hayden plans to take us on in Season 2020 and beyond.

I thank Hayden for his time.



The East Coast Eagles AFL Football Club Inc is pleased to announce we have now filled our Men’s U19’s coach role for the 2020 season.

New Coach Adam Wilson had the following to say:

I have been involved in junior AFL for 10 years, working with the Baulkham Hills AFC in a number of different rolls. While at Baulkham Hills AFC, I have been an active member of the club and was part of the inaugural executive committee.

I have also coached at all junior levels during my time and most recently coached the 2019 U15 Div. 1 Sydney Harbour Joint Venture (Kellyville/Baulkham Hills) Eagles team.

I am a level 2 qualified coach with aspirations to further that knowledge within the NSW/ACT AFL Aspiring Coach Program (ACP) in the very near future.

I look forward to being part of Head Coach; Hayden Rickards coaching staff and reinforce in the U19’s, his mantra to create a pathway opportunity through the Academies and Junior affiliated pathway clubs, to ensure that the East Coast Eagles are recognised as the ‘club of choice’.’

The club is excited to have now filled this position. Adam’s appointment will add value to the fantastic work Peter Van Vliet has done with the age group in recent years.

Adam will be assisted by Jeff Taylor and Peter Van Vliet with more assistants to be announced.

Peter Van Vliet will also be heading up the club’s youth liaison manager role. Peter in this role will build relationships with the eight junior pathway clubs and strengthen Adam’s comments on East Coast Eagles being ‘the club of choice.’

The club is extremely excited for what the future entails for the U19 program at ECE.

Welcome aboard Adam and welcome to the Eagles Family.


The East Coast Eagles AFL Football Club Inc is pleased to announce we have now filled our club coach and Men’s Premier Division head coach role for the 2020 + 2021 seasons.

The Eagles after a detailed search which resulted in some high quality candidates from both local and interstate have now appointed Hayden Rickard to the position of club Head Coach and Premier Division Men’s Coach.

New Coach Hayden Rickard had the following to say:

“I am thrilled to be named Head Coach for the East Coast Eagles across 2020 and 2021. I understand that the Eagles faithful have an expectation of success. These expectations have been forged in the efforts of the club’s predecessors at Baulkham Hills AFC in the mid 70’s through to the Eagles from 2000 onwards.

“My coaching journey to date has presented a number of unique opportunities that have prepared me to focus on continuing the good work Lindsay has developed over the last two campaigns. I look forward to adding my own point of difference to the program as we will strive to improve across the coming months of preseason graft.”

“It is my belief that the playing group and coaching staff that will navigate the 2020 season, must look at the responsibility of enhancing the guernsey and leaving it in a better state for those who follow us. The Eagles have a fantastic opportunity through our Academy and Junior affiliated clubs to ensure that the East Coast Eagles are recognised as the Elite Community Development Club in the competition and indeed the ‘club of choice’.

“I am excited to arrive in Sydney in the coming weeks, followed by my family in the new year, and to meet the men and women that make up East Coast”.

The club is excited to have now filled this position believing that Hayden will offer a new direction and will value his experience of bringing the best out of the playing group in the years to come.

Club President Jon Gawley had the following to say

“The board was over the moon following the detailed reviews and input from a wide variety of stakeholders to come to the view that Hayden was the perfect candidate to take the club forward, I look forward to watching Hayden and his family become part of the eagles family and driving future success of our football club:”

Welcome aboard Hayden and welcome to the Eagles Family.

Draft prospect goes from nowhere to NSW/ACT in a ‘couple of games’


The Steer Story

Late last year there were three things you could have got very long odds for over at Kanebridge Oval in Rouse Hill. Yeah I know. Bet responsibly and all that relevant advice. But if you’d ignored all those “good judges” telling you what they thought and placed your hard earned on the East Coast Eagles playing in the Grand Final of the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division, then you would have cleaned up big time last Saturday.

And, if you also placed a bet on the Eagles’ ladies Reserve Grade team, who were put into Division Two, also playing off in their Grand Final, then your bookie would be reeling.  And to top it all off, if you took the trifecta that a father and son combination would coach the two teams, then you’re probably collecting from the bookie’s estate right at this moment.

In what may well go down as one of the most remarkable stories of season 2019, all of the above came true last Saturday at Blacktown when Peter Steer coached his Premier Division team into next Saturday’s Grand Final.  Whilst at the same time, 50 kilometres away, son Damon was getting his side over the line at Henson Park.

The AFL had only promoted East Coast to the Premier Division in December last year following a considered submission by the Eagles which had defeated others from rival clubs.  The admission of the Eagles was controversial at the time, but throughout the season Steer progressively gathered together a group of girls who had the will to go all the way. They had come from a variety of different backgrounds to be nurtured and ‘steered’ into a set of players who Peter describes as “quite possibly the most committed group I’ve ever coached.”

In that Premier Division team which played last Saturday, seven girls are in their first ever season of AFL footy, eight came from previous homegrown teams at East Coast, two from other Division One clubs, three from AFLW club the GWS Giants and the last girl came from feeder junior club the Kellyville Magpies.

“All the girls just want to get better”, said Steer. “They actually take the feedback given to them and act on it. The improvement since Round 1 is exponential. Damon and I are overawed by their attitude and enthusiasm at training where they work as a group, not as separate teams.”        

The Div Two girls have been even more miraculous. After Round 7 they were second bottom on the ladder. By the end of the home and away season they had scraped into the final five at Round 18. They have just won their last six matches to secure the Grand Final spot. “I’m so proud of Damo. And the girls love him” proclaimed his delighted Dad. “He’s done an awesome job”.

Steer says that both teams are in good shape and morale is high for their respective Grand Finals this coming weekend. Macquarie University are the opponents in both games and even in the short history of Women’s football at East Coast, a real rivalry has developed between Eagles and the Warriors and there’s no doubt it will be continued this weekend.

Saturday September 14th – Premier Division
East Coast v Macquarie Uni at 1.30pm

Sunday September 15th – Division Two
East Coast v Macquarie Uni at 3.50pm

Grand Finals are hard to get into, let alone win.  Why not show your support for both teams and get to Blacktown International Sportspark Oval 
Eastern Road
Rooty Hill NSW 2766




Ron takes out weekly award


The return of Ronnie Golden Tongs and his renowned BBQ stall at Kanebridge Oval for Round 12.

For the last 13 seasons Ron’s BBQ has been the thing to look forward to at an East Coast Eagles home game other than a game of football. But after suffering three heart attacks since Christmas Ron hadn’t been able to open up shop until last weekend.  The 83 year old has been dubbed the man with the Golden Tongs and is known for his versatility and charisma behind the BBQ. Ron’s acclaimed menu includes the Eagle Burger, Steak sandwich (your way) and an assortment of pancakes to go along with the largest selection of condiments in Sydney. Ronnie Golden Tongs’ return was warmly welcomed by all in attendance on Saturday who hope to see him fire up the BBQ for years to come.

After a 12 hour slog behind the grill in his triumphant return, Ron kicked up his feet and enjoyed a well deserved scotch.



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