The chance to be immersed in a one-team town and be part of a long-term project is what attracted Dylan Hill to the Narromine Jets.
The Jets confirmed last week the former Macquarie coach had linked with the club. It ensures somewhat of a swap between the two Group 11 clubs after it was confirmed Wes Middleton had departed Narromine for the Raiders last month.
Hill was left hugely disappointed after being told he wouldn’t get the chance to coach the Raiders again in 2019 but after meeting with the Jets and discussing a possible move with those close to him, it took little time for the 26-year-old to agree to the switch.
“We were on the same page. I want to coach for many years to come and they (Narromine) were looking for someone to stick around,” he said.
“We’ve got to find that foundation and then build on it. They’ve got a great community out there and a great board who are willing to get behind me. It just felt good when we met and they made me feel comfortable.
“To have this opportunity, I’m over the moon. I spoke to my partner and my family and they’ve all been really supportive and the club has been too.”
That supportive and passionate environment is something Hill can’t wait to be a part of.
“I mentioned it to them at Narromine, I love the way the town gets behind the team,” he said.
“It’s special with a one-club town, you get the backing of the whole community and I want to give back to them.
“I’m really looking forward to the 2019 season, it can’t come soon enough.”
Narromine president Archie Harding feels the same way, with the Jets having now already appointed coaches for all four grades next season.
Mark Kilby, part of Dubbo CYMS’ victorious reserve grade side this year, has made the move to become captain-coach of Narromine’s reserve grade outfit, while former premiership-winning mentor Luke Phillips has returned to take on the under 18s coaching role again.
Jaimilee Elwin steps up to take on the league tag coaching role after developing into a key player at the Jets in recent seasons.
But it’s Hill who has been tasked with getting the first grade outfit back into finals contention, something both he and Harding said is the goal in 2019.
“We’ve always been behind the eight ball a bit and captain-coaches have gone to other clubs but we’ve got it organised early this season and that’s a bonus,” Harding said.
“Unfortunately we lost Wes (Middleton) but we wish him all the best and I don’t think we’ve lost anything by gaining Dylan.
“It’s hard when you get someone for 12 months and then they go and you’ve got to start again but now we can keep someone and build on what we develop (in 2019) and that’s a perfect situation.”
Hill has been back in Dubbo for five years after making the move to play in the NRL’s under 20s competition in 2010.
In his first head coaching role, Hill guided the Raiders to a fifth-placed finish in 2018 while a win in the final round of the season saw the Jets avoid the wooden spoon and finish in seventh spot.
While the now departed Middleton was a standout for the side there was plenty of positives and the emergence of a number of young players, namely Tony Clevin, was a real highlight.
“Obviously we’ve got to identify who we’ve got first and look at the juniors coming through and really give them a chance,” Hill said of building towards the 2019 season.
“You can do that in pre-season and the trials and then plug any holes you need to. But we want to look internally.”
Hill missed the entire 2018 Group 11 season after undergoing off-season knee surgery but after making his return to the field in the recent Koori Knockout he is eager to feature on the field again in 2019.
The captain-coach role is the goal, however the prop stated he wouldn’t run on the the field if he was unable to give the Jets his all as a player.
The Narromine Jets have their annual general meeting this weekend with Hill expected to start pre-season in late November.