Suns shine as sea­son takes off

Stel­lar coach Wayne Web­ber steps up


AUSSIE RULES: The Chin­chilla Suns are ready to kick the 2018 AFL sea­son into ac­tion.

It’s the club’s sev­enth year of oper­a­tion and, for club pres­i­dent Troy Wish­nat, it’s time to build on the suc­cesses of last year.

“Last year the Dar­ling Downs Foot­ball League was a two-tier se­nior com­pe­ti­tion,” Wish­nat said.

“So there was divi­sion one and divi­sion two, we played in the divi­sion two com­pe­ti­tion and made the fi­nals, which was a good achieve­ment for the club.”

The club had made the fi­nals a few years prior, with Wish­nat ex­plain­ing it was good for the club to im­prove and make the fi­nals again in 2017.

“We were knocked out of the fi­nals at the sud­den death stage by High­fields who were knocked out sub­se­quently by Dalby who were pre­miers for the year,” he said.

Through­out the year the club had a num­ber of high­lights, one be­ing the Travis Mitchell Cup game where the Suns went head to head against Dalby, com­ing out with a solid draw.

“I think that shows when we did get all of our things in align­ment and ev­ery­one per­formed to the po­ten­tial that they had we had a re­ally good team, so we hope to build on that this year,” Wish­nat said.

There are some changes to the com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son, with the Dar­ling Downs se­nior foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion mov­ing to a level-one com­pe­ti­tion which means there won’t be two sep­a­rate di­vi­sions.

“So there’s 10 teams in the com­pe­ti­tion this year,” Wish­nat said.

“Our ex­pec­ta­tion is that we would be some­where in the top half of the comp, prob­a­bly in that fourth, fifth po­si­tion to get us the same sort of re­sult as last year to the point of be­ing able to make the fi­nals and see where we go from there.”

It’s been a strong start for the club with “good num­bers” at­tend­ing train­ing, though Wish­nat en­cour­aged any­one in­ter­ested to come down and give the game a go.

“We’ve had a few new guys this year and some re­ally good sup­port from some of the work­ers around the ar­eas that have had a bit of AFL ex­pe­ri­ence which has been re­ally good.

“The more peo­ple we can get in­volved in the club the bet­ter – any­one in­ter­ested in hav­ing a go at a se­nior type level, doesn’t mat­ter in re­gards to skill lev­els, ex­pe­ri­ence any of that sort of stuff,” he said.

“We’ve got a re­ally good bunch of guys from lots of dif­fer­ent back­grounds within the area, so even if you just want to come down to meet peo­ple.”

Train­ing is on at the Chin­chilla Recre­ation Grounds on Mon­day and Wed­nes­day nights from 6pm. And play­ers are in good hands, with a stel­lar new coach, Wayne Web­ber, com­ing on board this year.

“We’ve been try­ing to en­cour­age Wayne to take on the coach­ing role for the past cou­ple of years,” Wish­nat said.

“This year’s the first year that we’ve man­aged to get him to com­mit to that po­si­tion.

“Wayne comes from a coun­try Vic­to­ria back­ground so he’s grown up with foot­ball all his life, got a huge amount of ex­pe­ri­ence, was the lead­ing goal kicker last year for the com­pe­ti­tion, so he’s a pretty handy foot­baller in his own right.

“It’s good to have him on board and be able to pass a bit of that wis­dom on to some of the younger kids com­ing through too.”

As for the ju­nior com­pe­ti­tion, while there weren’t enough num­bers for a Chin­chilla team, young play­ers will still get the chance to com­pete by play­ing for Dalby,

“As a club we’ve prob­a­bly re­coiled a bit in re­gards to our ju­niors,” Wish­nat said.

“We couldn’t get enough num­bers our­selves to have a stand-alone ju­nior team,

We’ve got a re­ally good bunch of guys from lots of dif­fer­ent back­grounds.

— Troy Wish­nat

which is sort of a re­trac­tion of where we’ve been pre­vi­ous years.

“But at the same time that was prob­a­bly dur­ing that peak con­struc­tion pe­riod when the gas was boom­ing and there was a lot more peo­ple in town.

“Over­all I think AFL’s got enough of a fol­low­ing in town to stand alone but it’s always an uphill strug­gle when it’s a rugby league town.”

As for the club it­self, Wish­nat said there were a few things “in the pipe­line” re­lat­ing to grant ap­pli­ca­tions for this year to help “try and get a bit more in­fra­struc­ture around the recre­ation grounds in town” to help the fu­ture of the club.

For club sup­port­ers there’s also some fun an­nounce­ments com­ing up, with club para­pher­na­lia in the works, to be avail­able when the sea­son kicks off.

“We’ll have club shirts and stubby cool­ers and all those sorts of things avail­able if any­one wants to come down and sup­port the club by pur­chas­ing any of those type of items,” he said.

“The more vis­i­ble we can be around town, hope­fully the more peo­ple will get in­volved.”

The club is also do­ing well thanks to spon­sor­ship, which Wish­nat said meant the club is in the “best po­si­tion we’ve prob­a­bly ever been in”.

Over­all, he said the fo­cus of the club was on friend­li­ness and he wel­comed any­one in­ter­ested in play­ing or vol­un­teer­ing to get in con­tact.

“We always need more com­mu­nity mem­bers to help… the vol­un­teers are the ones that make those clubs great.”

The Suns are set to play the High­fields Lions on Satur­day, April 21, at the Chin­chilla Recre­ation Grounds from 2.30pm.


TOUGH MATCH: Dalby Swans played Chin­chilla Suns last year.


Chin­chilla Suns are ready to play.


The Suns played hard in 2017.


FIERCE COM­PE­TI­TION: Dalby Swans against Chin­chilla Suns at the 2017 Travis Mitchell Cup.


The Chin­chilla Suns went up against Dalby in the 2017 Travis Mitchell Cup.


Chin­chilla Suns play­ing last year.


Fly­ing high as teams bat­tle for pos­ses­sion.


Dalby Swans play­ing Chin­chilla Suns last year.

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