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UNLIKELY JOURNEY TO BLG PREMIERSHIP COACH - AND NOW THE SANFL

By Peter Argent

Blackheath in the Blue Mountains about an hour west of Sydney is an unlikely place for the senior coach from 2015 premiership coach at Nuriootpa in the Barossa to hail from.
This week he has accepted a position as under 18 coach of the Central District Football Club and reeves has more aspirations of moving up the coaching tree.
Darren Reeves trip to coaching in the SANFL a fascinat¬ing one and worth recounting.
His first passion is cricket, moving to the big smoke and played in a B grade title with the Penrith Cricket Club as a 15-year-old.
The wicketkeeper-batsman would play Sydney grade cricket the follow¬ing year and progress through the grades at NSW state level at the end of the Phil Emery, start of the Brad Haddin era.
Coming to Adelaide in 1997, Reeves was a part of Cricket Australia’s academy under Rod Marsh in 1997, alongside Nathan Bracken and David Hussey.
He also met his wife, Linda and they initially moved back to Sydney, before a call from Jeff Vaughan was the catalyst to return to Adelaide, where he played district cricket with West Torrens, Woodville and a final season with the Northern Jets, along with the Redbacks in second XI fixtures.
“I was working at Retravision with a number of the Central District (SANFL) boys, including Radlee Moller and Quinton Graham who had been a part of the early success at Central District,” Reeves explained.
“My boss, Paul Mann got me involved in the Salisbury Football Club in 2004 and I just lovely the football atmosphere and camarade¬rie from the beginning.
“I was the runner for the first week and then it was suggested that I play.
“I started in the C grade in my first game, played in the B’s in my second and a couple of weeks later I was playing A grade football.
“That’s where my connection with his opposition grand final coach, Gawler Central 2014 premiership mentor Damien Herzick started.
“He was my first A grade coach and I had two years under him.
“Damien was fantastic for me; he just let me play.”
Success was forthcoming as a player, as Reeves won a Salisbury Football Club A grade best and fairest in 2006 and then co-captained premiership against Para Hills.
Former indigenous and original Crow Eddie Hocking was the person who helped Reeves into the coaching caper when he arrived at Salisbury.
“Initially I tried coaching the two’s and playing A grade, but that was too difficult,” Reeves explained.
“So I gave playing away and just coached.
“After a season as Eddie’s assistant, I took the senior role.
“We played in a Grand Final in my second year (against Kilburn), but the next two we just were treading water.
“Since I’ve got into coaching I’ve always endeavoured to surround myself with good people
“(Twice Barossa District premiership champion) Jamie Sibbick was a won¬derful deputy and sounding board at Salisbury.
“Seamus Schutt is a good friend who tells it to me - straight, while it is wonderful to have a guy like Allan Norton avail¬able to impart his football knowl¬edge and wisdom as well at Nuri.
”‘I love sitting down and picking the brains of the AFL experienced guys like Henry (Slattery) and Jay (Nash).”
A superb manager of people and from an elite sporting background in a different code, Reeves has proved to be an astute coach, showing that coming from a non-traditional back¬ground is no hindrance.

 
 
 Reeves, on BL&GFA Grand Final Day 2015, above with Cup and below with Captain and former Central District Player Craig Gogoll
 
 
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