The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs can announce that Luke Vella has been appointed as Head Coach of the Jersey Flegg side for the 2020 season.

Vella, a local junior and former player for the club, has been an assistant coach of the Bulldogs under 20s team for three seasons and takes over from David Penna.

Luke has an extensive knowledge of the young players and a complete understanding of the requirements at this level having spent the past five seasons involved with the club.

“It’s a big honour. It’s something that I have really worked hard to get, and I believe it’s a good step in my coaching career. I’m looking forward to the transition and feel I have a good understanding and knowledge of what’s required thanks to the work I have done with good people around the club,” Vella said.

The 25-year old represented the Bulldogs through the Harold Matthews, SG Ball and NYC competitions before a serious shoulder injury ended his career in 2014.

Vella suffered nerve damage to the brachial plexus in his left shoulder/neck and it, unfortunately, left his left arm totally disabled with no movement and little sensation.

The injury put a complete stop to his rugby league career as a player, but it enabled the former hooker to pursue a career in coaching.

His involvement with the club has not just been on the coaching front, but also see him complete a traineeship with the club’s Career and Welfare department to help in his transition to life away from the football field.

His rise amongst the junior coaching ranks saw him appointed as the NSW Under 16s Harold Matthews representative coach earlier this year.

General Manager of Football Steve Price was delighted to have Vella on board as the Jersey Flegg Coach: “It’s a great reward for Luke and the club. He has done a tremendous job as an assistant and the appointment is a sign of what we are about at the Bulldogs. Not only are we developing our own on the field, but we’re doing it off the field as well. I’m really happy for him and the progression he has made in his coaching career.”

Vella will assemble his squad in early November to begin their pre-season and preparations for the 2020 season.