DEVILS READY FOR NEW SEA­SON

Coach de­ter­mined to keep young play­ers mo­ti­vated and the club mov­ing for­ward

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

HEWOULD like to see his squad go one win bet­ter this year, but Si­mon Ric­cia­rdi is adamant he won’t take the field.

Ric­cia­rdi re­lin­quishes his role of cap­tain this sea­son to con­cen­trate solely on coach­ing, and is fo­cussed on en­sur­ing the club con­tin­ues to thrive.

Safe­guard­ing the club’s fu­ture will in­volve lur­ing ju­nior play­ers back to the fold, with teenage play­ers the lifeblood for the Devils’ sur­vival in years to come.

“Back when we made it in 2005, only two play­ers stayed on and we strug­gled,” Ric­cia­rdi said.

“I’m hope­ful the mo­ti­va­tion that kept me go­ing for all those years will help en­cour­age the boys from last year to stick around.

“The other part is, we re­ally want to push those ju­nior play­ers, par­tic­u­larly the un­der-16s.”

The Devils were forced to pull their un­der-18s side from this year’s com­pe­ti­tion, but Ric­cia­rdi wants to see ju­nior Devils sign se­nior con­tracts when they turn 17.

“We just couldn’t get the num­bers for the team,” Ric­cia­rdi said.

“We re­ally want to get those play­ers back to Isis and make sure the club sur­vives.”

On the se­nior front, it is all about pre-sea­son train­ing, with sev­eral squad mem­bers start­ing train­ing back in Novem­ber.

Ric­cia­rdi has some fear they’ll be burnt out by sea­son’s end, with this year’s cam­paign to be ex­tended thanks to the re­turn of Across The Waves Tigers.

The Tigers’ re­turn means the nine-team com­pe­ti­tion will in­clude byes, with Isis to en­joy the first week­end off.

“I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that early,” Ric­cia­rdi said.

The Devils train at Childers Show­ground on Tues­day and Thurs­day from 6pm.

Childers Ju­nior Rugby League sign-on days will be held at Childers Show­grounds. The club will run two sign-on days: Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 5, 3.30–5.30pm, and Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 8, 10am–noon.

A gen­eral meet­ing will follow Sun­day’s ses­sion, where the club will de­cide which teams to field.

Phone Scott Tom­lin­son for more in­for­ma­tion on ei­ther 4126 6087 or 0428 261 073.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

CALL TO ARMS: Isis Devils coach Si­mon Ric­cia­rdi is call­ing for ju­nior play­ers to re­turn to the club for another tilt at the ti­tle after the Childers-based side lost last year’s grand fi­nal.

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