Damon Loftus, Sunny Lewis and Scott Neil will support Manunda Hawks coach Wayne Siekman this season. (Samuel Davis)

A seasoned campaigner and key development duo will play major off-field roles for the Manunda Hawks in 2023. 

Sunny Lewis will serve as senior assistant coach while reappointed reserve grade mentors, Damon Loftus and Scott Neil, round out the Hawks’ football department.   

READ MORE: Former Gold Coast Suns star joins Manunda Hawks

Lewis, who coached at clubs across regional Australia over three decades, said returning to football after an extended break had renewed his passion for the game.

“I’m really enjoying it,” he said.  

“There’s a good feeling around the club. I watched the Hawks play last year and I thought there was a lot of talent within the side. 

“It’s no secret I love my footy and the environment we’re developing here.” 

Sunny Lewis’ coaching journey started with the Thorpdale Blues in Victoria in 1984. (Samuel Davis)

Head coach Wayne Siekman said he welcomed Lewis’ appointment after working with clubs in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia. 

“Sunny brings with him so much knowledge and experience. That’s going to be super beneficial to the players and also the coaching group,” Siekman said. 

“He started coaching over 30 years ago and has been with clubs who have been successful but also clubs that struggled at times. 

“Those insights will be beneficial for everyone as we re-build in 2023.”

Scott Neil will co-coach Manunda Hawks’ reserves team alongside Damon Loftus for a third consecutive year. (Samuel Davis)

2023 will mark Neil and Loftus’ third season as player-coaches at the club. 

“It’s great to have Scott and Damon back,” Siekman said.  

“Both men are familiar with the club and playing group which is going to be important for me to lean on as they have a great relationship with the players. 

“They are terrific club people too. That’s important as we start a new journey at Manunda Hawks.”

READ MORE: Hawks set to soar with Siekman at the helm

Lewis, who last coached Collie Eagles in Western Australia more than a decade ago, said building camaraderie off the field was a priority at the Hawks this preseason.  

“It’s all about mateship for me and developing that sense of teamwork,” he said. “If the group is happy off the ground that’s reflected on the field.”

The Hawks men’s squad will play their first match on Saturday, April 22 at Cazalys Stadium against Port Douglas Crocs. 

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