New Magpies coach Sheldon Hall has had an interesting journey to the main seat at Central Football Club and though only 31, he has already had his fair share of success during his time in the coach’s box.
After several concussions ended his playing career prematurely, Sheldon turned to coaching as a way to stay involved in a game that he loves.
“It was hard to give away [playing footy]. Really, really hard to give away. I remember my last concussion. It was in the first quarter, in front of the bar at The Jube [Jubilee Oval] and I tried to get up and I was like Bambi trying to walk for the first time.
“It was tough. In the changerooms I cried and cried. Not because I was any good at footy, it was just that I was with my mates every Saturday, the training two nights a week, Thursday, Friday, catching up with all those people. It was like a social outing. And then to have that just taken away from you, something that I’ve done since I was four years old playing AusKick. It was tough.”
It was time to decide what to do next. And for Sheldon there was only one real option – coaching.
“I put all my eggs in the coaching basket. That way, I’m still at training Tuesday and Thursday and I’m still at the ground on Saturdays and helping in some capacity.
“The best part about being a coach, your career doesn’t end at 35. It is around 55-60. It might not be now, it might be in 10-15 years time before something outside of Broken Hill pops up but that’s what we’re going to work towards. And that way it keeps my competitive drive going.”
Sheldon is already a premiership coach with the Central women’s side and was an integral part of predecessor Greg Wellington’s coaching staff who steered Central’s A-Grade team to the 2022 Grand Final.
“He [Wellington] called me one day and said I’ve had some work developments and unfortunately, I’m not going to have the time to continue coaching Central with these new work commitments.”
After the news sank in, it was a mixture of shock and a feeling of, is this a practical joke, says Hall. The moment it became clear it wasn’t a practical joke was when Greg told Sheldon he was his choice to take over.
“He said to me you got to apply for it. He told me you’re ready, you must apply for it.”
Hall was not sure, but the endorsement from Wellington went a long way and he eventually put his application in, unsure of how it would go, especially considering there were a lot of more experienced coaches available.
“I thought I’d better get in early on the front foot. And it took a few weeks before I heard anything.”
Eventually Hall was summoned to a meeting where he had to present his vision for the club.
“Then I got the call that I had got the gig, and it was surreal.”
It was when he was signing the documents to rubber stamp his role as senior coach that the reality of the job sunk in when he was looking at the honour roll at the club and saw his name there under men’s senior coach.
“That’s when it sort of hit me. I got to pull my finger out. I have to make sure I’m on the ball every training session because if I’m not on the ball, my energy goes through to the players. If I’m not up and about, they’re not going to be up and about.”
You can follow Sheldon’s coaching journey today as his Central side faces North in the first match of a double header at the Jubilee Oval, starting at 12.50pm.
Head over to Spotify to hear the long form version of our chat with Sheldon Hall in the latest episode of The Red Dirt Round Up, or simply click this link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7JyYP9Nrl6IX1xkAP5juMZ?si=4s3GmrYwTU-9VVhN1OhqJQ