Pre-season spirit the most promising for years
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.