Justin Plapp appointed as VFL senior coach
Williamstown Football Club is proud to announce the appointment of Justin Plapp as its new VFL Senior Coach.
Plapp joins the Club with over a decade of experience in the industry as an AFL-level coach.
He spent the past three seasons as a senior assistant with Melbourne under head coach Simon Goodwin - a period which saw the Demons make a preliminary final.
Plapp becomes Williamstown’s 54th senior men’s coach since 1906, but it won’t be the first time he has coached a senior VFL side.
Plapp coached the Casey Demons from 2015-2017 and steered them to three consecutive finals series’, including a grand final in his second season in charge.
Downer Oval won’t be unfamiliar territory to the 43-year-old, having previously filled the role as Williamstown’s VFL senior assistant and development league head coach in 2011.
Tasmanian-born Plapp’s AFL playing career began when he was selected by Richmond in the 1997 AFL Rookie Draft. After 18 games with the Tigers, the forward made the move to St Kilda and spent five further seasons with the Saints. He then spent a year with Port Adelaide in the SANFL, followed by three years with the Tassie Devils in the VFL.
Williamstown’s four-person coaching selection panel - which consisted of independent adviser Peter Schwab, Club Directors Kim Kershaw and Troy West, and CEO Jason Reddick - came to the decision to appoint Plapp after interviewing a number of high-quality candidates.
Williamstown President Clint Rippon said Plapp ticked all the boxes and brings with him an abundance of valuable knowledge and experience.
“On behalf of the Williamstown Football Club I would like to officially welcome Justin back to the Seagulls as our new VFL senior coach,” Rippon said.
“We are absolutely delighted with this outcome. It was very clear from our discussions with Justin during the recruitment process, that both he and our Club have many shared values, which we place a great emphasis upon.
“I would also like to extend a special thanks to Peter Schwab who joined our selection panel as an independent advisor. Peter has extensive industry experience which he brought to this process and it was instrumental to ensuring it was delivered with the highest levels of professionalism.”
Reddick added: “We were blessed to have so many strong candidates apply for the role, which is a great reflection on the appeal and standing of our Club in the football industry. However on all the key criteria that we focused, Justin was a clear standout and therefore a unanimous choice by our selection panel.”
Plapp has both extensive and successful coaching experiences across all levels of football, from the TAC Cup, the Development League, VFL and AFL. He was a premiership coach with the Box Hill Hawks VFL development team in 2010, led Burnie Dockers (2008) and Casey Demons (2016) to their respective state league grand finals, was the VFL State League coach in 2017, and was senior assistant/midfield coach for Melbourne when they reached the AFL preliminary final in 2018.
“I’m just really excited to be able to coach a strong, non-aligned, VFL club with such a rich history,” Plapp said.
“It is a Club that is so respected in the football industry and I look forward to playing my role in continuing the tradition of success.”
Plapp also has a proven track record as a coach who develops players through to the elite level.
Sandringham Dragon players Tom Langdon (Collingwood), Josh Kelly (GWS), Angus Brayshaw (Melbourne), and Zac Merrett (Essendon), together with Casey Demon players Oscar McInerney (Brisbane), Tim Smith (Melbourne) and Bayley Fritsch (Melbourne), are just some of the players to have been developed through to AFL footballers under the influence of Plapp’s senior coaching.
“Justin had that connection to our Club through his stint as Williamstown’s Development League coach back in 2011, but most importantly in our eyes, he now has a burning desire to succeed as our senior VFL head coach,” Reddick said.
“He has knocked back some strong AFL coaching offers to take up this role at the Seagulls, which is a true testament of his commitment to our Club.
“We have a lot to be excited about with Justin now taking the reins.”
Plapp replaces Andy Collins, who coached the side from 2014-2020.
Richmond (1996 - 1999)
- 18 games, 22 goals
- Reserves premiership 1997
- Reserves leading goal kicker 1997
- Rising Star nomination 1998
St Kilda (2000 - 2004)
- 26 games, 8 goals
Burnie Dockers (1996)
- TSL leading goal kicker
- TAS v VIC state team member
Port Adelaide (SANFL, 2005)
Tasmania Devils (VFL, 2006 - 2008)
Melbourne (2018 - 2020)
- Senior assistant/midfield coach 2018 - 2019
- Senior assistant/forwards coach 2020
- VFL senior head coach 2015 - 2017
- VFL state head coach v WA 2017
- TAC Cup head coach 2012 - 2014
- VFL senior assistant coach 2011
- Development League head coach 2011
- VFL senior assistant coach 2010
- Development League head coach 2010
- Senior head coach 2009 - 2010
- VFL senior assistant/forwards coach 2008