BATHURST Bushrangers Outlaws co-coach Matt Archer has been given one the highest honours possible at the club’s recent presentation night.
This year’s Central West AFL premiership-winning mentor was given Bushrangers life membership, at the age of just 25, with the board recognising Archer’s efforts in overseeing a challenging period for the club.
The split into two Bushrangers teams for the senior men’s competition was a tricky transition period for the club but Archer’s direction played a pivotal role in ensuring each side remained motivated and competitive.
“I was shocked when it happened, and I’m still shocked now,” Archer said.
“When I was called up I thought it would be a bit of a pat on the back for winning the premiership. They said some flattering words and then they suddenly said I was getting life membership.
“It’s not something I take lightly, because the the others who have been given life membership are club legends and people that you look up to.”
Archer has been playing his footy for the Bushrangers for more than a decade and in that time has coached both junior and senior teams, also captaining the senior squad.
His contribution on the field has also been enormous, playing a pivotal role in keeping the Bushrangers’ midfield a top-tier threat.
Bushrangers president Graeme Grundy said the decision to give Archer the award was an easy one.
“When we had to separate the Bushrangers into two teams we needed people on board leading the way to make that transition work properly. Matt was instrumental in making that process flow well,” he said.
“He’s coached our under 17s before, played at the club for a long time, coached and captained our senior team and has done an amazing job.
It’s not something I take lightly, because the the others who have been given life membership are club legends and people that you look up to.
“Length of service is obviously something we recognise for life memberships, but you need that flexibility to recognise contributions to the club in terms of instilling the values we want. That’s more important than anything else.
“Matt has always shown that, especially over these past two years. He’s always accepted that challenges that came with the two teams. As the incumbent coach of the [single] Bushrangers team he was the one leading us.
“In that time he’s been positive the whole way, even when the Outlaws lost their four points to Orange.”