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AFL's O'Loughlin aims to blaze a trail
Greg Buckle
14:43 AEST Wed Jul 3 2013

Michael O'Loughlin hopes his high-profile role as coach of Australia in the International Rules Series will encourage other indigenous ex-players to pursue AFL coaching careers.

The former Sydney forward was named on Wednesday as coach of the national side for the two-Test series against the Irish in Ireland in October.

O'Loughlin, who is also head coach of the AIS-AFL Academy, is unsure if he wants to pursue a full-time coaching career in AFL ranks.

But he's going to give it his best shot over the next six months and as a member of the indigenous team of the century, he's aware of the role he can play in inspiring others.

"It (coaching) has been out of reach for a lot of our people," O'Loughlin told AAP.

"We're not just players. We can manage clubs.

"We can be involved in footy clubs and we can coach.

"Hopefully they see me and it's like being an old player. Those young blokes see you play, that's what they want to do.

"If they see me coach, hopefully we can get a few over the line there.

"I saw `Longy' (Essendon's Michael Long) running around and I went `geez that looks good, I'd like to do that'.

"We've all traditionally just been players.

"Chris Johnson, Jason Mifsud and Xavier Clarke have done an amazing job to put this sort of pathway to hopefully establishing a few other senior coaches."

O'Loughlin's assistant coaches for the Ireland tour include his former Sydney mentor Rodney Eade, who coached the Aussies in their 2011 series loss at home to Ireland.

"I'm just interested in seeing how I enjoy the process," O'Loughlin said.

"Coaching is not for everybody. When I was a player I prided myself on my preparation and turning into a coach is no different.

"Who knows? In six months I might say it's not for me.

"But I won't die wondering. I'll make sure I do everything possible to get the real feel of what it's like to be involved."

Indigenous players to have coached at AFL senior level include North Melbourne's Barry Cable in the 1980s and Geelong's Graham "Polly" Farmer in the 1970s.


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