Above pictured Paul King coached Bundoora in the second half of the 2008 season

Toby Prime, Diamond Valley Leader
October 19, 2016 4:00pm

Paul King was happy to ride the wave of momentum at North Heidelberg but a surprise phone call changed everything.

The Northern Football League legend was last night confirmed as Eltham’s coach for next year, replacing Mario Bandera.

It is King’s first full-time senior coaching position, having coached Bundoora in the second half of 2008 after Ray Shaw stepped aside mid-season.

King, who played more than 380 games with Preston in the VFA, Bundoora, North Heidelberg and Craigieburn, was first approached about the position last Monday by Panthers president and friend Greg Wilson.

The 45-year-old said he was happy to continue having a kick in the reserves at North Heidelberg, with the club confirming the signing of Brent Harvey this week, but the opportunity to coach his own side was too good a chance to turn down.

Paul King coached Bundoora in the second half of the 2008 season.
“It was an off the cuff call from the president if I would be interested in having a chat and it has worked out for both of us,” King said.

“I’ve obviously been around the Northern Football League for a long time and have always respected Eltham and I know they have a good young list.”

King, the 2000 Frank Rosbrook Trophy winner, was an assistant coach at Craigieburn in 2009 and for two years at North Heidelberg.

King said he had not contemplated senior coaching until the call came through.

Paul King dishes out a handball for North Heidelberg in 2010.
“I had the interview and I was really keen but it was something I hadn’t thought about because I have two teenage children and they are both heavily involved in sport,” he said.

“I spoke to my wife and my children and they said, ‘go for it’. It was a family decision in the end.

“The whole thing has been a bit of a whirlwind.”

Wilson said King’s experience was a “telling factor” in the appointment.

“He has been as keen as mustard ever since I’ve been talking to him,” Wilson said.

“We wanted someone who knew the Northern Football League pretty well and how it all works.”