Hunter appointed Bombers coach for 2018 season
LONG-term Hervey Bay Bomber Darren Hunter will return to coach the senior AFL Wide Bay team in 2018.
Hunter was head coach when the Bombers reach the preliminary final in 2016. Before that, he served as an assistant for Troy Ignatenko, who led the Bombers to three consecutive grand finals between 2012-14, including two flags, during his three-year tenure as coach.
"The only reason I left was I've got young kids and wanted to spend more time with them," Hunter said.
"I thought someone else could give them an edge. Tony (Potter) did a terrific job to get them to the finals."
Potter, who coached the Bombers to the QFA Wide Bay Sunshine Coast preliminary final in 2017, did not reapply for the role.
A strong squad, which should remain largely similar to the side that fell just eight points short of a grand final appearance, and the appointment of assistant coach Stuart Andrew, has the Bombers primed for a strong campaign.
Andrew coached the Bombers' under-17s to a premiership in 2016.
That team featured the likes of Kurtis Hare, Bryce Lewis, Alastair Smith, Jai Cooper, Matthew Duffy, and Noah Parry, all of whom played at least one game of seniors footy in 2017.
Andrew's connection to those players, along with a core that could include Lachie Woodhams, Luke Bish, Jason McConnell and South Queensland train-on squad member Luke O'Toole, could make the Bombers one of top teams when the new season starts.
"I've got a good team of guys around me, the boys have around for a while. We've had the same core of guys for some time," Hunter said.
"Stuart's got a wealth of knowledge, and that's going to be an added bonus for our side.
"It will be a great year."