QUEANBEYAN Tigers NEAFL co-coach Kade Klemke will re-sign with the club for one year and take the coaching reigns of the AFL Canberra division one team, as well as play for them, next season.
He made the announcement on Monday after weeks of speculation, with the talented forward having been linked to Canberra's Eastlake and Ainslie football clubs, as the Henty product switches his life focus away from football.
Eastlake had confirmed they would consider Klemke in a playing or coaching role, after the club last week stood down former coach Anthony Bourke after a poor performance this season in the NEAFL.
Klemke told The Queanbeyan Age he had been in talks with both Ainslie and Eastlake- Canberra's two remaining clubs in the NEAFL competition- about future playing roles, and he he was interested in the Eastlake coaching job.
But he said the time and effort involved in the NEAFL was too much for him, and that he would look to switch focus to 'Life City Church', which he established this year, as well as starting a young family.
"Hopefully now I can do more stuff with the church and set up a youth group on a Friday night," said Klemke.
"I'll even consider setting up a drop-in centre in Queanbeyan as well."
"I didn't think if I kept playing NEAFL I'd have time to do stuff outside of footy, with all the extra travel, and with Queanbeyan going back into the Canberra competition, it frees up more time."
Klemke said the culture and environment at the Tigers football club played a big part in him staying on as well, and hoped that his decision would help keep some of his NEAFL teammates at the club too.
"I understand if they still want to go elsewhere and play at a higher level.. but it's their decision. I'm pretty happy [with my choice], and I hope a few other guys stay on," he said.
With the AFL Canberra competition set to undergo a restructure next season, of which details are yet to be confirmed, Tigers general manager Michael Goiser said it was huge for his club keeping Kade.
Current AFL Canberra division one coach Paul Campbell will move into a coaching director role, while other NEAFL co-coach Josh Bryce has not yet decided on his future.
Klemke was also named NEAFL player of the year last week, in a huge personal achievement, and despite a poor team result this year with the Tigers, said it capped off hard work during the pre-season.
"I switched to the mid-field for the first time this year after we lost a few players last season, which was a challenge, but it still would have been better if we played better as a team," he said.