Pre-sea­son spirit the most promis­ing for years

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - Hay­den Smith

IF the past month is a sign of things to come, the Moss­man/ Port Dou­glas Sharks mean busi­ness in 2016.

Pre-sea­son train­ing num­bers have been strong as a buzzing play­ing group de­fies swel­ter­ing heat in prepa­ra­tion for a year of fierce com­pe­ti­tion.

Head coach Trevor Cobb was op­ti­mistic about the sea­son, par­tic­u­larly on the back of last week­end’s Su­per Nines com­pe­ti­tion dur­ing which the Sharks won two games.

“It was a great chance to blood some young play­ers and see how we were go­ing fit­ness­wise,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one dusted off a few cob­webs but we were re­ally com­pet­i­tive.”

The Sharks’ A Grade side fin­ished just five points shy of a semi-fi­nal ap­pear­ance in 2015.

Now in his se­cond sea­son as A Grade coach, Cobb said the play­ing group was this year com­mit­ted to tak­ing its game to an­other level.

“In the dress­ing sheds af­ter our last game in 2015, we all made a pact that this year we would go one bet­ter and make it to the semis,” the 47-year-old said.

“And when I look around at train­ing this week and see 40-50 blokes hav­ing fun, even in this heat, it re­ally gives me some con­fi­dence about things to come. This is prob­a­bly as good as the club has felt dur­ing pre-sea­son in seven or eight years.”

This year the Sharks, who ended 2015 in good form, will be boosted by the ser­vices of util­ity back Shawn Bowen, while plenty of re­spon­si­bil­ity will also lie with ex­pe­ri­enced for­wards Dave Oui and Paddy Whap.

But per­haps the club’s most im­pres­sive weapon is 21-yearold Khaele Bowen, who has re­turned to Moss­man af­ter a stint with the New­cas­tle Knights youth squad.

“He will be a big in­spi­ra­tion for the footy team, bring­ing back that top-level ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Cobb, a two-time CDRL Gold Medal win­ner.

“There’s a re­ally good buzz around the club at the mo­ment.”

Cobb also said the Sharks’ Re­serve Grade side, which fin­ished sixth last sea­son, would be a “force to be reck­oned with” in 2016 on the back of some strong off-sea­son sign­ings.

The Sharks will host a Pa­pua New Guinea club side this Satur­day af­ter­noon in what Cobb said would be a tough, phys­i­cal clash be­fore the open­ing CDRL round in April. The Sharks kick-off their CDRL sea­son against South­ern Sub­urbs at Al­ley Park, Gor­don­vale, on April 3.

Moss­man/Port Dou­glas Sharks play­ers Andy Sloane and Ben Barba are keen for a big sea­son in 2016.

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