Great Western coach Will Bell will be stepping away at the close of the 2021 season.
Bell has a knack for building things from scratch; he created the Ararat Storm, he took the Lions up from dwelling in the cellar to a premiership, and now he's turning his attention to building something new: a house for his family.
"I'm not much of a labourer but I'll get in there and give it a crack that's for sure," Bell laughed.
"I think it'll be nice to look back on your house once you completed it and know that you had a bit of a go at trying to put it all together," he said.
But the Great Western coach has plenty more to look back on from his time at the Lions.
Bell took over the coaching reins at the club in 2017 and coached the side to a premiership in 2019, breaking a 36-year drought in the process.
The grand final victory will always be a highlight from his time at the Lions.
Bell described the scenes at the club after the win as ecstatic.
"It's one of the moments that you'll cherish forever. It's not just about the players or the committee or the people that did all the work to get it done. It goes back generations.
"It was people that played in the premiership 36 plus years ago at that stage that were there with tears in their eyes, just enjoying the moment," he said.
You're coaching all year round, and when you're not coaching, you're recruiting and then the next thing is pre-season and you're back into it againWill Bell
"From memory, it was a record crowd. People came from absolutely everywhere, out of the hills, out the back of Great Western to watch the game.
"Great Western's not just a footy club, Great Western's a community. It's such a great place to be part of," Bell said.
However, Bell believes the end of the year is the perfect opportunity to move on and leave the coaching role on a high.
Bell said the decision resulted from a combination of things but primarily was about taking a break from the stresses of coaching.
"I've been coaching for a while now, so it'd be nice to get to the end of the season and just to have a bit of a break from it rather than just running them from one season into the next. Coaching a football club is a 12 month gig, it just goes around in a vicious cycle," Bell said.
"I haven't had a break from this at any stage over the past five years. You're coaching all year round, and when you're not coaching, you're recruiting and then the next thing is pre-season and you're back into it again," he said.
"I've been coaching consecutively for the past twelve years at numerous levels. I think I worked out that I've coached over 300 games of football, which is a lot of games of footy for a guy that's only in his early thirties."
Bell's work as a coach has not gone unnoticed.
In 2018 he was named AFL Western Victoria's Coach of the Year and 4th statewide, something he said made him feel blessed.
"There's plenty of good coaches that are doing great things for their footy clubs. It was pretty humbling, especially being at a footy club where we were trying to turn around," he said.
It's one of the moments that you'll cherish forever.Will Bell
"We had a bit of improvement,a little bit of coaching and some good players, so it was easy to get put in that limelight and be looked at to win it,"
"I won't say I didn't enjoy it! It was nice to go to Melbourne and be top four in the state that year. It's one of those moments I'll look back on when I'm finished and be very humbled."
Beyond the limelight, Bell said he had accomplished what he set out to do when he took on the role with the Lions in 2017.
"I wanted to hopefully get the club in a better position than what it was when I walked in, play my part as a coach and make the football department as good as we could make it," Bell said.
"(Now) we're one of the lucky clubs locally that has got great numbers and a great environment for people to come play footy," he said.
Bell feels he's done as much as he can for Great Western and hopes to go deep into September before he steps away.
Another highlight of Bell's career was the Ararat Storm, an all-female football club that currently competes in the Southwest League, alongside clubs from Horsham and Hamilton.
Bell said he wouldn't be able to stay away from football for long, but next season he'll be just another supporter.
"It's just going to be taking a break from the game and, uh, trying to refresh and up a bit, it's a pretty texting role. "I've got a young family so that keeps me pretty busy.
"So I think I'll just enjoy that, cheering them on and having a beer instead of being the guy on the field," Bell said.
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