Former Crows defender Andrew McPherson always envisioned a career in coaching. 

“It was something I always thought about during some of my extensive stints in rehab,” McPherson told AFC Media on Tuesday.

“I knew I was finishing up playing-wise and could see the writing on the wall, having not played much footy with injuries… I was keen to still have an impact on the group.”

After an injury-plagued 2023, McPherson’s prediction did come true, and he was ultimately not offered a new playing contract at West Lakes.

The 24-year-old, however, made use of his “writing on the wall” intuition and began exploring a coaching path.

After Crows forwards coach James Rahilly departed to Geelong in October, a chance arose for McPherson.

“I went away in the off-season break to Europe for about a month then when I came back, an opportunity presented itself with Rahls (James Rahilly) moving on and a bit of a re-shuffling of the coaching group,” he said.

“We started having a bit of a chat about what coaching might look like (for me).

“It worked out perfectly and I was really pumped to have the opportunity to step into that role.”

“It worked out perfectly and I was really pumped to have the opportunity.

Now, McPherson is back on deck for another pre-season, however this time he gets to skip the time trials and gruelling drills in the heat.

“It’s really exciting to still be involved,” McPherson said.

“I probably don’t have the extensive playing experience that some of the other coaches possess, but hopefully I can bring something a little bit different with the experiences I have had, especially what I’ve learnt through my journey with injuries.

“But building resilience was something I learnt pretty early on through those injuries and something that kept me in check and helped me mentally was having a bigger perspective.

“And in the development space, having empathy and care is really important and being able to relate to the guys and understand what they’re going through.”

McPherson, a two-time winner of the Dr Brian Sando Award for professionalism and dedication, did dabble in coaching this year, taking up an assistant role with the state under-16 program.

Although only early into pre-season, McPherson said he was buoyed by what he had seen from the squad so far and looked forward to helping fast track the youngsters’ development ahead of the 2024 season.

“We’ve got a good group of first-year draftees who have come into the Club, so hopefully I can pass on a little bit of my experience and help them upskill as quickly as possible,” McPherson said.

“I think we have a lot of untapped potential, it’s still a very young group, but you look at the talent we have and the growth that’s happened over the past few years.

“The boys have been awesome, they’ve got a huge amount of respect for the coaching staff here and I think that’s transferred.

“They’ve been very welcoming and awesome in the way they’ve taken me on as a coach, as well.”