DEVILS READY FOR NEW SEASON
Coach determined to keep young players motivated and the club moving forward
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.
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.