Best foot forward
Monday, 26th March, 2012
The 2012 football season is just around the corner with the first proper hit-out for the city’s four clubs, the Lightning Cup, kicking off this weekend ahead of the season proper. Ahead of what is shaping up to be an exciting season, the BDT has spoken to each club about the year ahead. In the first installment, sports writer Graham Ball takes a look at Central.
Central will enter the 2012 season with renewed faith and confidence.
After winning the premiership in 2010 the Magpies had a season from hell with injuries playing a starring role through their campaign and as a consequence they managed just three wins for the season.
During the off season changes were made and long time club stalwart and club champion Justin Heath was appointed senior coach. It is not the first journey into coaching for Heath as he coached at Under 16 and 18 levels.
Heath’s first steps into the senior role was made a little tougher when two of the clubs stars moved on to bigger prospects but recruiting has been high on the agenda.
The pre-season approach by the players has been excellent with steady numbers and a good mix of juniors and senior players doing the hard yards under the summer sun. The Magpies played a trial game some weeks ago and it gave the coach and players a good indication where they were with their training, and since then the tempo has increased slightly.
Heath said he was impressed with the attitude of the group and especially the juniors with James Bressanelli, Jarred Dart, Jess Dwyer and Jeb Coombe all having standout pre-seasons. Two veterans who have really put in the hard yards and look to be in pretty good nick are Digby Schinkel and Shane Stenhouse; both guys haven’t missed a beat and Heath expects big things from them in 2012.
While Heath knows where the Magpies are coming from he is quietly confident that the Magpies can again play a part in September. With a good squad and a solid core of senior players and promising juniors, the season ahead can’t come quick enough.
Heath is also expecting big things from some old heads. Brenton Zanette has had a great pre-season and he will be one to watch, along with Braydon Quinn who Heath believes is ready to take the next step. Another veteran, Jarred Paull is like a new recruit this year after missing most of last season, and his experience down back will be a huge asset to the Magpies. James McClure was terrific last year and is again expectd to be amongst he club’s best after a solid pre-season.
The Magpies have used the pre-season to go back to the future a little, with the use of some basic drills to tweak their game plan. The pace of modern football requires teams to run further down the lines and the Magpies are doing just that with quick ball movement from end to end and straight down the corridor.
With only weeks to go pace and execution by foot is the key for the success of the Central Football Club. The Magpies need to improve in a few areas but a finals berth is a target they can reach.