Raiders turn a new Page
WITH a new leader at the helm, the Reef Raiders are confident of regaining the same scintillating form this season that took them to premiership glory two years ago.
The Port Douglas side had a year to forget in 2015, despite going into the competition as favourites after outlasting James Cook University in the 2014 decider.
But now, as the club prepares to host its annual sevens tournament next month, the Reef Raiders are looking to reclaim their winning touch.
This year the club will be boosted by the services of Steve Page, a rugby guru who knows what it takes to go to another level.
A product of Nudgee College, Page went on to represent the Sunshine Coast Stingrays in the Brisbane Premier Grade competition.
He now works for Queensland Roads as their North Queensland manager.
Although based in Cairns, he will both coach and play for the Port Douglas side in 2016.
“I played a couple of games for them last year. I could see they had the talent but just needed a little bit of structure,” the 28-year-old said.
“But there are some great players at the club and I can’t wait to be more involved this year.”
Despite his experience, Page ruled himself out of captaining the Reef Raiders this season.
Reef Raiders vice-president and life member Stewart Cowe said Page’s inclusion would be a great addition for the club. “We’ve only done a few training sessions this year but you can already see the difference he has made,” Cowe said.
“He seems to be a natural leader and everyone is happy to listen to him.”
Despite gaining Page for 2016, the Port Douglas side will need to recover from some bigname departures during the off-season.
Experienced campaigner Grae Gilbert is playing in Canada this year, while forward Adam Calcraft is sidelined with a knee injury. But Cowe said this year’s squad was capable of stepping up to the challenge.
“Guys have been showing a lot of commitment at training, and we have a couple of talented South Africans coming to play this year,” he said.
“I’m feeling optimistic, last year was tough, but there is a pretty good vibe around the club at the moment.”
The Reef Raiders will host a sevens tournament on March 5 before the FNQ Rugby season kicks off in April.
Port Douglas Reef Raiders players Anthony Eldridge, Darcy Cotton and Julian Weimar.