Ararat Rats' senior coach Shane Fisher has announced his departure from the club.
In his second season as the lead coach, Fisher shared the news with the playing group - displaying transparency which he had asked the same from his players.
In what has become a tough decision, Fisher decided to take a break from football and spend some time with his family, including three young children.
"As a coach, I tell my players family is the first priority, then work, then football," he said.
"It's now my turn to practise what I preach. The travelling is getting a bit too much with a young family and I have made the decision to have some time away from football.
"I've coached and been part of football for more than 18 years. I guess it's just time for me to put my family first and spend some time watching my kids grow up."
Fisher said the playing group were "pretty shattered" at the announcement.
"Players understand I guess. There's a fairly good bond between the playing group and the coaches," he said.
"I decided to tell the group before the end of the year to get it off my chest. I didn't want it to come to the end of the year and announce it then.
"Whether we go well or don't go well - I didn't want the announcement looking like sour grapes because that is in no way the case."
Ararat Rats will start its finals campaign in a few weeks and the board will start recruitment for a replacement.
"I feel pretty content the club is in a good position to entice a new coach to come on board and continue the club in the direction it's heading," Fisher said.
"I'm happy as much as the club wants me involved to help find a replacement. I feel part of the furniture of the Ararat Football Club and always will.
"I want to make sure they're on the right path going forward. If that includes talking to possible candidates going forward knowing where our group is at - it might help the club and someone coming in."
Fisher joined the club as the director of coaching in 2017, stepping into the senior coaching role in 2018.
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