Premier Cricket: New Northcote captain Ben Abbatangelo’s leadership qualities lauded


NEW Northcote coach Steve Taylor has backed his successor as Dragons captain to flourish in the leadership role.

Taylor has handed captaincy duties to Ben Abbatangelo after the star all-rounder was appointed as David Reid’s coaching replacement in March.

Taylor said becoming skipper would be a “natural progression” for Abbatangelo, who has served as his deputy in recent seasons and been Victoria’s Imparja Cup captain.

“He’s a leader of men and he has wanted to lead this club for a long time,” Taylor said.

“One of his mentors, Grant Gardiner, is a former club captain and I think he really wanted to follow in Grant’s shoes. That time has come for him to make this team his own and really put his own stamp on it, which I am sure he will.”

Abbatangelo, a top-order batsman, compiled 414 runs at 31.9 last season and has previously been considered a Victorian prospect.

Taylor, who has coaching experience in the Northern Territory and England, said the role had been a “huge change in pace”.

“We’re fortunate we have got a strong group of leaders and I knew the time was right for me to step away (from captaincy),” the 2015-16 Ryder medallist said.

“What that does for me, if anything, is free me up on game day.

“Once we go over that line, I am a player only. Hopefully that will free me up to play some good cricket.”

The Dragons have been seeking two recruits to bolster their First XI squad, with a middle-order batsman a priority.

But Taylor is bullish about the club’s chances of an immediate return to finals after tumbling to 16th on the table last summer in a season marred by injuries to key players.

“We were struck down with injury last year,” he said.

“We had more than our fair share. A bit of luck on that front as well as one or two more (players) will put us right back up to where we were two seasons ago.”



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