Get To Know Our Reserves Coach - David McKay

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 12:58 PM by Matt Ogg

It would be fair to say that our 2020 Optus WAFL Premiership Season Reserves Coach, Dave McKay, is a Swans man through and through.

Having spent nearly half his life in and around the club, McKay knows what it’s like to play and succeed, particularly in the Ressies side.

We sat down with Dave to learn more about his career, goals and hopes for the upcoming season.

How did you first get involved with the Swans?

I was a Bunbury junior and playing development football down there. Greg (Harding) sited me and after two years of development he got me up here on a scholarship to Swanlea – now La Salle boarding school. Ever since that I’ve pretty much been Swans.

What sides have you played for at the club?

I played in the development, 16’s, Colts, Reserves and League. So the Swans have been a part of my life for nearly 15 years. 

You won the Reserves Best & Fairest in 2015. What was that like?

It was really good. It was a shock. Besides playing league football, it was probably one of my better achievements. It probably should have been a giveaway when my parents were invited to attend the night from Bunbury. I was still really shocked to receive it. It was definitely one of my highlights, and to captain that side with boys who I am still very close mates with, it’s that kind of thing you look back on when you actually have finished playing, and it means a lot to me.

Why did you to stop playing?

I think my teaching took over. I did do an ACL as well, but I had always said that when I started teaching that my career would come first. I achieved what I thought I could achieve, and I didn’t feel like I was going to play too many more league games after the knee. I played the back end of 2017 with the Reserves, including finals, but it felt like it would be a very long road to be able to get back into that side. I also started my first year of teaching in 2018.  

You have the nickname ‘Truck’. How did that come about?

Very simple actually. I got it from one of my house mates. It’s just went from McKay to Mack to Mack Truck to Truck. I probably move as quick as a truck and turn as slow as a truck, but yeah, it’s a very simple nickname. It was on a footy trip that it was etched on me permanently and it’s stuck for a long time, forever.

How did you get into coaching?

I love helping people and sharing my knowledge with all age groups, which is why I wanted to be a teacher also. Last year when I was playing amateurs I was able to take on a bit of a coaching role in the Reserves, and when I had a small injury and was out for about 6 weeks, I was able to help out coaching a bit with the League side. I always thought that I was a small, little bit overweight midfielder, and if I could play League in the WAFL, I must have somewhat of a footy brain. I loved it and thought I could help someone with their footy.

How are you finding coaching at the Swans so far?

For me, the timing of coaching at this level was something I definitely couldn’t shy away from. It’s my first year and it’s been a learning curve so far, but it’s really good. Being pre-season the whole squad trains together so you don’t really have your Reserves side as such, but as we are slowly starting to get into games, they are starting to look really good. Some of the young blokes who are in their first or second year out of Colts, they really soak up what you say and are going to be very good footballers. It’s really exciting.

You said the League and Reserves are training together at the minute. Of the players you expect will spend time in the twos this season, what does the team currently look like?

I think they are going to play well and have a really successful year, and not only on the score board and ladder-wise. I think a lot of them are going to play some more League football. They look really exciting. You look at some of the players that will push up and play in the League side, and those who will drop back, they are looking really good. The best thing about them is that they are really young. Having boys like Kade Wallrodt, Pat Italiano, Lachie Riley and others ready to play at Reserves level only a year or two out of Colts is really exciting.

So you are expecting for a number of the boys to earn games in the League side?

Yeah I think a few will push up throughout the year. There’s a guy called Pat Farrant who looks really good. He’s a forward, really rangy, and a fellow Bunbury kid. Kade Wallrodt could probably see time there and a guy called Mitch Bain who I think has already played a little bit of League football. He looks like a different player this year though. He’s come back and looks like a bona fide midfielder and has a real hunger in his belly. There are a couple of top end players that were in the state 18’s, like Zane Trew and Denver Grainger-Barras, and they’ll push to get a berth early in the League side, if available. That’s just a couple.

Do you have any of the Colts coming up this year?

Not as of yet.

What are your main goals for the Reserves this season?

The development. The Reserves should really look to booster your League side, especially at this level. If you can get the wins on the board obviously that’s the cherry on top, but if I can get boys being developed and coming forward in their Reserves football and essentially playing League football, then that’s half my job done. As a Reserves coach as well, there are players who can feel a mile away from cracking into the League side or they feel that they should be in there. It’s my job to keep them focused and make sure they are getting the honest truth, but also that they are happy with what they are doing for the team.

So would teaching or coaching be your choice of career?

I’d love to mix them and do a bit of both. I kind of look at it like my best playing days are behind me, and my best coaching days are hopefully ahead of me. I really like the development of young players and list managing. I do love coaching and that is something I want to explore right now, but in 15 years or so I’d love to be in the AFL system doing list management or developing younger players. That would be the end goal I think.

(This article was written prior to the WAFL COVID-19 shut down)