Pan­thers usher in new blood

Central Telegraph - - SPORT - Vanessa Jar­rett Vanessa.Jar­rett@cen­tral­tele­

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.

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