Senior Coach Kade Klemke heading to NEAFL
Kade addresses the First Grade team ahead of the 2016 grand final
After five years at the helm of the Tigers, senior coach Kade Klemke is moving on to the next step in his coaching career after being appointed coach of the Canberra Demons NEAFL team.
As a 21-year-old playing coach Kade joined the Tigers in 2012 and took the club to a NEAFL Eastern Conference premiership in a memorable win over the Sydney Swans Reserves in his first year, with assistant coaches Paul James and Adrian Pavese providing enormous support.
Kade was also playing coach of the equally memorable 2015 AFL Canberra First Grade premiership win, beating then undefeated minor premiers Belconnen with a young team who had been given opportunities at senior level after a large number of players had left the club following the withdrawal from the NEAFL at the end of 2014.
A three-time Tony Wynd Medalist as the Tigers First Grade Best and Fairest, Kade has played 86 games for the club, putting him within a season’s reach of the Tigers prestigious 100 Club.
In what was a difficult decision to leave the Tigers, Kade has decided to pursue the Canberra Demon’s NEAFL coaching position as he continues his pathway to coach at the highest level available and hopefully make it into the AFL system.
As one of the best players in the AFL Canberra competition Kade will leave big shoes to fill both off and on the field.
Kade moves to the NEAFL role with a clear goal of trying to entice the best talent from each of the local clubs to ensure the Demons position themselves as an ACT and region representative club in the NEAFL competition.
The Tigers will now work through a process to identify a new senior coach to continue the development of our young group. We will take an appropriate amount of time to consider our options, internally, locally and further afield, and will speak with a range of candidates. With Kade’s announcement being made publicly soon after the recent grand final there has already been strong interest in the position.
Kade spoke with sports journalist Caden Helmers from the Canberra Times as part of the NEAFL coaching announcement. Caden reported:
NEAFL: Queanbeyan Tigers’ Kade Klemke appointed Canberra Demons NEAFL coach
Kade Klemke with is 2016 AFL Canberra Men’s Coach of the Year award
The Canberra Demons have announced Queanbeyan Tigers player-coach Kade Klemke will take the NEAFL club’s coaching reins for the next two seasons.
Two-time AFL Canberra premiership winner Klemke is intent on building a successful club at the Demons after they won just three games in 2016.
“I honestly don’t think it’s a lot different to what Queanbeyan was the last couple of years,” Klemke said.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys and I’ll be looking to do the same thing with the Canberra Demons – really develop those young guys but also bring in experience which we had this year which really helped our guys.”
Klemke said he’ll be making “plenty of phone calls” in a bid to snare some of AFL Canberra’s best talent to bulk up the side’s roster.
“Mix them with the young guys you already have, there’s no reason why Canberra Demons couldn’t be a successful club and be playing finals footy next year,” he said.
“There’s no guarantee they’ll all come on board, but I’ll be trying hard. I want to build a successful representative team – I know there’s been rivalries, and I want to break that down.”
Klemke will scour the nation’s state leagues – VFL, SANFL and WAFL – with a number of southern NSW players playing at that level.
He admits telling his Tigers teammates of his decision “wasn’t easy.”
“I love Queanbeyan, so very hard to tell them that you’re going when you’ve been a part of the club for five years now,” Klemke said. “They’ve played a massive part in my development as a coach. It’s really sad to leave.”