Club Preview- Port Macquarie
Who will be leading your side this season?
GORDON WIEGOLD: The Magpies have gone for a blend of youth and experience (Payney’s the youth and Sheldo’s the experience)
Life member Scott Payne is coaching seniors and has taken on that role by himself this year with last year’s assistant Tim Donohoe focusing solely on his playing duties.
Paul Sheldon is gunning for eight premierships in succession after leading the reserves to seven consecutive titles last year. The possible major difference this year is the possibility of a lot of younger players lining up in the seconds due to Port’s ongoing blooding of a new crop of junior talent.
Craig Carroll is throwing himself into the club with sponsorship and treasury portfolios but his key passion is this crop of 18s who have real potential to threaten the top sides should they be able to hold it together with a consistent playing group in 2010.
How do you rate season 2009 for your club?
GW: A year of overachievement for the efforts that went in from the playing group overall. For firsts to finish 4 or 5 goals away from a grand final berth, seconds to maintain their momentum on the back of some wily old heads and a late season training surge, and the 18s whose heart and passion is doubtless but their commitment beyond a core of 10 players hurt them – overall you could say the results were largely due to the passion and commitment of senior coaches Scott Payne and Tim Donohoe who gave everything to keep interest at a peak without the same sort of commitment from players on the training paddock.
What are you hoping for and expecting in 2010?
GW: It represents a fresh start and a new outlook but the test wil be how the players adopt and commit. The big plus is that Paul Sheldon will have a broader range of committee help at his disposal which will hopefully give the playing group a chance to reach their potential and enjoy their footy both on and off the field. The club has set down first grade premierships as its benchmark with an aim to be competitive in all three grades.
What do you think of your competition this season?
GW: Sawtell will once again be the benchmark and reports of changes to their playing roster will be taken lightly as they have traditionally peaked in the bigger end of season games which we expect again. The Kangaroos have enough experience not to be written off. Coffs Swans we think will be the big improvers and will be a real threat to the other Coffs teams. Grafton could be a top four smoky if they can take their home form onto the road – at home last year they were outstanding and the equal of any team and they played well deep into the season. Nambucca’s last game win in 2009 shows that they haven’t given up on a big 2010. They can match the big sides when they are at full strength and if they can recruit a plyer or two, they will be top four candidates.
Are there any changes to your playing roster?
GW: There have been a couple of walk-ins who haven’t fully committed yet. The possibility of Jordan Harris (a tenacious on-baller) coming back into the fray after only one game last season will be a bonus. The biggest additions seem to be the committee soldiers who will provide the platform for playing strength and Scott Payne has made an energetic start to training with the aid of a trainer who has turned to some beach sessions to put some spine into pre-season.
The only other significant addition – and it’s not playing related – is the possibility of the Wayne Richards Park Complex being completed closer to the 2010 season end which will mean the club will enter 2011 with a playing facility the equal of Coffs International Stadium.
Port Macquarie train each Tuesday and Thursday at Stuart Park starting at 6pm.