Hawks pre­pare for big sea­son

Isis Town and Country - - Kolan News - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

THEY may not have a clue when their sea­son will start, but Gin Gin Hawks play­ers are pre­par­ing for what they hope is an­other suc­cess­ful sea­son.

Ide­ally, the boys would like to go one or two bet­ter than last year, af­ter in­juries ripped the side apart as the fi­nals dawned.

Their last game of 2014 ended in mis­ery, as the hos­pi­tal ward-like Hawks chang­ing room showed.

Gin Gin were pumped 72-12 in the North­ern Dis­tricts Rugby League pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal, but the 14 avail­able play­ers left noth­ing in the tank.

With a new year comes a new sea­son and fresh op­ti­mism, and player-coach Shane Blair is des­per­ate to avoid a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion to 2014.

“Ob­vi­ously we want to avoid that and get to the fi­nal,” Blair said.

“We barely got nine play­ers to games as in­juries let us down.”

The pain of miss­ing a grand fi­nal af­ter fin­ish­ing mi­nor premiers is easy to see but hard to over­come.

Whether that serves as ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion to the Hawks when they take the field is yet to be seen, but for now the lads are fo­cused on prepa­ra­tion.

Tues­day night’s turnout of only four play­ers is mis­lead­ing to judge the club given the con­di­tions.

Blair said the team was get­ting “about 16 play­ers” to train­ing ses­sions, and the club was in the mar­ket for more. “There’s still a few guys we’ve got to get signed up,” Blair said. “No­body re­ally knows who’s play­ing at the mo­ment.

“I’d say we’ve had about 50% of the guys from last year come back.”

Blair said the club’s plan was to wrest the NDRL premier­ship from South Kolan’s hands, and he be­lieved they could have the play­ers to do it once the sea­son kicks off.

“Pro­vided we keep ev­ery­one on the field we should go close,” Blair said.

“We should have ev­ery­one here soon, so we’ll get there.”

Blair said he would re­main player-coach, with a de­ci­sion on cap­taincy to be made much closer to round one.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

READY TO ROLL: Gin Gin Hawks player-coach Shane Blair is re­al­is­tic about his side’s chances this NDRL sea­son.

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