OAKLEIGH Cricket Club has tapped into personal connections to reel in its new coach.
Former Prahran opening batsman Brendan McGuinness will be a playing senior coach for the Oaks' next Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association season.
The 28 year old came to the club after overtures from good friend and Oaks first XI player Brent Warren. Oaks captain Jarrod Travaglia also reached out to ask McGuinness to join the club.
McGuinness said he was lucky to get a chance to come to Warrawee Park.
"Brent is an ex-teammate at Prahran and a close friend, so after he and Jarrod both called me to see if I was interested it all snowballed from there," he said.
"Oakleigh were really professional in their approach and have a really solid junior base.
"The club is experiencing a sustained period of success and it's an exciting time at the club with all four XIs challenging for premierships."
McGuinness said the Oaks' first XI would be setting its sights on the premiership after losing last season's grand final.
"We want to try and blood some youth up through higher grades and introduce some new ways of thinking and fresh ideas to get the senior guys to go that one step further," he said.
Despite the continued influx of big-name recruits into other sub-district clubs, McGuinness said he still believed the Oaks could again compete for the premiership by promoting their younger players.
McGuinness said he believed most of the first XI would return next season and he has challenged the Oaks' emerging juniors to claim places in the first XI.
"The club have struggled with middle order batting in the first and second XI, so there is definitely an opportunity there for young blokes to fill that gap. Guys in the first XI have got to earn their spots. Hopefully, there will be pressure on them from the lower grades and we can create a competitive environment where selection isn't a given."