Panthers usher in new blood
PRE-SEASON training has begun with the Biloela Panthers Rugby League football club adding a new face to the coaching ranks.
While Ryan Wilson will again coach the A-grade side, Kelly Christensen has been appointed coach of the under-20s side.
“I am pretty excited,” Christensen said.
“Pat (Barron, club president) has been asking me for a couple of years and I thought I would give it a go.
“I just haven’t had time before with work and what not.”
Christensen grew up around Biloela before moving away for a while but he has been back for the past couple of years.
“I was lucky enough to play for the Ipswich Jets while I was away,” he said.
Christensen said he is keen to get the players back on the training paddock and to help them develop.
“I am keen to get back into it, keen to get started and get the boys doing a bit of fitness,” he said.
“I’ll just be looking to teach them how to play properly and teach them some new skills.”
Christensen said he will keep training simple to start with.
“Hopefully start out with more simple things, just building it up,” he said.
“We just did half-an-hour tonight at training but it was high intensity and we will build it up more coming towards January.”
Christensen said his greatest challenge will be getting to know everyone and working out how they fit in the line-up.
“That is a big thing for me, I don’t know who anyone is,” he said. “There are 18-20 players and that is a lot of personalities to put together.
“And they all have different attributes.”
Wilson meanwhile is gearing up for his third year in charge of the top team.
“It’s good, I love it,” he said.
“It is a lot of my free time but I love it, it’s good to be with the boys, it’s my escape.”
With most of last season’s players expected to return for the Panthers, Wilson was upbeat about their chances.
“I’m feeling pretty confident,” he said. “We have kept the same group of boys, gained a couple but mostly kept the same group.”
Wilson plans to build on last year’s performances and revealed the Panthers will be looking to up the intensity in defence this season.
“We will still be doing the same stuff but we will do some more defence training,” he said.
“We’ll mix it up a bit, do a bit of different stuff, keep the boys engaged.”
Wilson has not been idle since the season ended, taking the opportunity to source new inspiration and fresh ideas.
“I watch NRL games, youtube videos, listen to people, old coaches, old players,” he said.
“I have been lucky with some of the coaches I have had, they have been some good places and they are good mentors.”
Wilson said team harmony would also play a key role this season.
“We plan on going on a camp, get the boys away and do some social bonding,” Wilson said.
“Get them away from their phones and out of town.”
ON THE PROWL: Panthers A-grade coach Ryan Wilson and new under-20s coach Kelly Christensen.