Spring­field rev­els in progress

Growth of teams in line with club phi­los­o­phy and pas­sion for United play­ers

The Queensland Times - - NRL SPORT - CAL­LUM DICK cal­lum.dick@qt.com.au

FOOT­BALL: The biggest dilemma fac­ing Spring­field United pres­i­dent Scott Hard­ing next sea­son will be ac­com­mo­dat­ing the num­ber of play­ers want­ing to join the club.

The sec­ond-year ad­min­is­tra­tor ad­mit­ted it was not the worst headache to have, but was one as the club be­gan prepa­ra­tions for its 10th year as an en­tity.

“A lot of other clubs are hav­ing is­sues at­tract­ing play­ers so I cer­tainly can’t com­plain, it’s a lovely headache to have,” Hard­ing said, cit­ing the 25% player growth the club has rev­elled in for the past three sea­sons.

“It’s been great un­til now, but our cur­rent growth is too great for where we are right now.”

Come 2019 that will change, with the Spring­field club set to move away from their tem­po­rary base at Wood­crest State Col­lege into a new multi-sport fa­cil­ity.

Hard­ing and his col­leagues are build­ing a club brick by brick on the back of pas­sion and a com­mit­ment to player devel­op­ment.

“We have some great ju­niors com­ing through our club, and we’re in­creas­ing num­bers all the time,” the Spring­field Angli­can Col­lege teacher said.

“Yes be­cause of the catch­ment area we’re in, but also be­cause we’re get­ting a name for play­ing good foot­ball.

“One of our ma­jor de­ter­mi­nants as a com­mu­nity club is qual­ity coach­ing.

“A few of our ju­niors are tri­alling at West­ern Pride, and we do not be­grudge them for do­ing so. They are prod­ucts of our sys­tem and it means that sys­tem is work­ing.

“We find that is of­ten the de­ter­min­ing fac­tor for peo­ple com­ing back – it is the qual­ity of in­struc­tion they’re re­ceiv­ing.

“We’re talk­ing about peo­ple that are very com­mit­ted and se­ri­ous about player devel­op­ment and be­com­ing bet­ter as coaches.”

Field­ing 436 play­ers across 38 teams in 2017, this sea­son was the most suc­cess­ful in the club’s his­tory. Five teams made the fi­nals this year, up from three in 2016.

The un­der 14 Spar­tans and un­der 14 Steel­ers both made it back-to-back grand fi­nal wins.

The Steel­ers were par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive in their 3-0 shut out of pre­miers Green­bank, a side which av­er­aged more than eight goals per game dur­ing the sea­son.

“They train re­li­giously, twice a week work­ing re­ally hard, and there’s no sub­sti­tute for hard work,” Hard­ing said of the two U14 sides.

“I’m also the coach of the City Women’s (which also made fi­nals) side, and I can tell you now when play­ers are will­ing to work hard, ir­re­spec­tive of their start­ing level of abil­ity, they’ll do well.

“That is what I’m most proud of. You can walk around at the be­gin­ning of train­ing and see ev­ery group im­mersed in what they do.

“Hard work leads to re­sults.”

A cherry on the top for the club was the an­nounce­ment of Cap­i­tal League 4 player Kevin Bar­r­a­clough as the league MVP for 2017.

It was his first sea­son at Spring­field and Hard­ing said the for­mer Brisbane Force player’s de­ci­sion to join the club was proof their blue­print for suc­cess was work­ing.

“That par­tic­u­lar side, it’s their sec­ond year to­gether and it we’re now at­tract­ing Kevin’s cal­i­bre of player,” he said. “We have a re­ally good base now, with a good set of U18s to sup­port (the se­nior teams), and ob­vi­ously the U14s have done very well.

“We now have that pipe­line of home-grown play­ers com­ing through, and we’re start­ing to de­velop our own style of play at the club, which is ex­cit­ing.”

One of our ma­jor de­ter­mi­nants as a com­mu­nity club is qual­ity coach­ing.

— Scott Hard­ing

PHOTO: DAVID NIELSEN

EX­CIT­ING FU­TURE: Spring­field United Foot­ball Club pres­i­dent Scott Hard­ing at the Wood­crest Col­lege sport­ing fields.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Spring­field United's mi­nor premier­ship-win­ning un­der 14 side.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Spring­field United's Cap­i­tal League 4 MVP Kevin Bar­r­a­clough with club pres­i­dent Scott Hard­ing.

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