Dawson signs with Royals
Former East Perth coach Tony Micale, right, is heading east to join St Kilda and has the blessing of Royals president Bronte Howson. Picture: Michael O’Brien/WA News

East Perth have engineered a recruiting coup, luring 2010 Swan Districts premiership coach Brian Dawson back into the fold to replace renowned four-times WAFL premiership mentor Tony Micale.

Micale, 63, has been announced as a new assistant to Scott Watters at St Kilda this morning.

The Royals, taken back into the finals this year by Micale who guided the club to a hat-trick of WAFL premierships last decade, yesterday confirmed Dawson as his replacement.

"East Perth sees it as a good step," president Bronte Howson said.

"It can continue the progress that Tony has made in the last three years in his second stint here and it is important that we have someone who has a track record of playing in finals.

"The development Tony has created in the last three years, Brian is a person who can continue that development."

Dawson stepped down from the senior role at Swans after the 2010 premiership, to pursue a study sabbatical that involved significant overseas travel. He also turned down overtures to return to coaching with Claremont this time last year.

In a statement released last night Dawson, who will return from an overseas trip next week, said he was pleased to return to coaching.

"I'm looking forward to working with East Perth who are a proud and successful club with a great history and strong values," he said.

"Tony is a tough act to follow but I'm confident we'll be able to build on the tremendous legacy he's left."

Micale won 69 per cent of his games in coaching stints at East Fremantle, South Fremantle and East Perth, winning the 1998 flag with the Sharks, and the 2000, 2001 and 2002 flags at East Perth.

He also lost grand finals at East Fremantle in 1997 and South Fremantle in 1999.

Dawson didn't finish lower than third in a three-year stint at Swans, making two grand finals and winning in 2010.

Micale said he was excited to be returning to the AFL. He was a premiership assistant at West Coast in 2006 and was named AFL assistant coach of the year the following year.

"Importantly I have struck up a great relationship and a friendship with Scott Watters and I gave Scotty my word when he was going in for the St Kilda job a year ago that I would assist him," he said.

Micale had to review his plans after a year marred by family tragedy, including the sudden death of his son Josh.

Micale said he expected his role would involve both AFL assistant and development components.

"It encompasses being heavily involved in the AFL program," he said.

"I will be an assistant coach. At the moment it is not designated in a specific area. That is to come."

Watters hailed Micale's "key appointment".

“Adding someone with Tony’s knowledge and experience to the coaching panel next season provides great balance to our assistant coaching team," he said.

The West Australian

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