Sharks coach aims high

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - CHAR­LIE MCKIL­LOP

NEW Moss­man Sharks coach Trevor Cobb is a man on a mis­sion to turn­around the for­tunes of the Cairns District Rugby League’s peren­nial wooden spoon­ers.

Some might call it “Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble” but Cobbs is de­ter­mined to make a dif­fer­ence to the club in which he first made his mark as a promis­ing ju­nior and dev­as­tat­ing player who three times earned best and fairest for the Sharks in the late 1980s.

Cobbs now hopes to in­still the pride and hunger he felt when wear­ing the Sharks jersey which he says he never lost de­spite go­ing on to play rep­re­sen­ta­tive foot­ball in Mt Isa for more than a decade.

About 30 play­ers have al­ready started train­ing and work­ing out in the gym to pre­pare for the 2011 sea­son with trial games sched­uled to start in late Fe­bru­ary.

The club be­lieves more will sign on once they re­alise the changes be­ing made by the new coach backed by a com­mit­tee de­ter­mined to put the pain and em­bar­rass­ment of past few sea­sons be­hind them.

Cobb’s achieve­ments as a player and as a level 2 ac­cred­ited coach have pre­pared him for the tough as­sign­ment ahead.

“In Mt Isa, I spent seven years play­ing for the ’Town­ies’, they were the money club of the lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion and won the premier­ship ev­ery year,” he said.

“Then I moved across to the Black Stars, they were sim­i­lar to Moss­man, get­ting flogged ev­ery game and un­der me, they went from com­ing last to one game away from the grand fi­nal.

“So I’ve been there be­fore, I got the boys to be­lieve in them­selves and I know what it takes to get that win­ning feel­ing back in the club.

“If I can get play­ers who turn up to train­ing want­ing to im­prove­ments them­selves on and off the field, I know it will set the club in a po­si­tion di­rec­tion.

“It’s not go­ing to hap­pen in one year but by the sec­ond year I be­lieve we will make the semi fi­nals and hope­fully bet­ter than that.”

Cobb has a long-term vi­sion - and it’s not only about win­ning footy games.

“As a coach, I can make a dif­fer­ence, to get kids train­ing hard, not hang­ing around on the streets, drink­ing and be­ing bored be­cause there is no em­ploy­ment,” he said.

“I be­lieve rugby league can make you a bet­ter per­son, not just on the footy field but in life as well.”

Club pres­i­dent Keith Pitt said the pos­i­tive in­flu­ence of an ac­com­plished player and coach who was also a lo­cal Moss­man prod­uct was ex­actly what the Sharks needed to in­spire a change of cul­ture.

“As a club, we need to har­den up,” Pitt said.

“For too long play­ers have turned up on game day ex­pect­ing to get a run ir­re­spec­tive of whether or not they had trained dur­ing the week.

“Those days are gone. If you don’t train, you don’t play. It’s as sim­ple as that.”

In ad­di­tion, the Sharks are ne­go­ti­at­ing with the North­ern Pride to se­cure the ser­vices of a con­tracted player, pos­si­bly an ex­cit­ing new prospect re­cently signed from Nor­man­ton.

“He’s a good strong cen­tre with the abil­ity to slot in at lock or the sec­ond row, if needed,” he said.

“We’ve had pos­i­tive dis­cus­sions with (Pride head coach) Dave Maiden and he is keen to work with us, in­clud­ing as­sist­ing with train­ing and pos­si­bly more in­volve­ment with our ju­niors.”

Cobb be­lieves he can also use his net­works to lure more play­ers to Moss­man to lift the team.

“If we can get a bit more fire­power and ex­pe­ri­ence, those play­ers can grab the young fel­las by the ears and bring them along too,” he said.

In­ter­ested play­ers who want to get on board are wel­come to at­tend train­ing ev­ery Tues­day and Thurs­day, from 6pm to 8pm, at the Moss­man show­grounds or con­tact Keith Pitt on 0439 879 025.

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