War­riors un­der new lead­er­ship

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Footy Countdown - BY DEAN LAW­SON

If there is a word to sum up the di­rec­tion that Stawell coach Colin Ma­caf­fer is steer­ing his play­ing group it must surely be ‘re­spect’.

Ex­pe­ri­enced Ma­caf­fer, new to Wim­mera league and new to the War­riors, said player re­spect of each other, op­po­nents and gen­eral cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing week-to-week foot­ball was in­te­gral to be­ing ver­sa­tile and suc­cess­ful.

“We’re all about build­ing the re­spect we have for each other and op­po­si­tion and hope op­po­si­tion ap­proaches us the same way,” he said.

“Our game plan is on­go­ing – it has to be – and will need to be tweaked for each team we play against and each ground we play on. That’s about re­spect­ing each game as it comes.

“We have to be adapt­able and ver­sa­tile and I think the game plan we have will be flex­i­ble, al­low­ing us to adapt to dif­fer­ent styles of play.

“We want to cre­ate the play and make op­po­nents re­act to us, rather than us chase them.”

Stawell has taken a dif­fer­ent ap­proach with Ma­caf­fer’s non-play­ing ap­point­ment, pre­vi­ously

hav­ing a se­ries of play­ing coaches. He also comes in fresh, with­out any pre­con­ceived ideas about the club or the com­pe­ti­tion.

“I’m brand new to the league, which I think can be a good thing and cer­tainly the com­mit­tee, sup­port­ers and play­ers have been very wel­com­ing, which has created an ex­cel­lent at­mos­phere,” he said.

Ma­caf­fer will have plenty of tal­ent at his dis­posal and in for­mer Colling­wood for­ward Jack An­thony has had one of the big­gest pre-sea­son re­cruit­ing coups in the com­pe­ti­tion.

“There are go­ing to be highs and lows but it is go­ing to be quite ex­cit­ing,” he said.

“Jack An­thony is cer­tainly some­one ev­ery­one will look up to and he has fit­ted in well with our on-field lead­er­ship group, par­tic­u­larly in the for­ward line.

“We have a few new play­ers com­ing in who have fit­ted in very well.” As well as An­thony, the War­riors have Navarre goal-kicker Cody Driscoll slip­ping into the team and flanker John Mcin­tyre join­ing the camp af­ter cut­ting his teeth with un­der-18 Calder Can­nons and play­ing in Mel­bourne am­a­teurs com­pe­ti­tion.

Tom and Jack Tau­rau and Naish Mcroberts are also back af­ter hav­ing a taste of devel­op­men­tal path­way foot­ball and Ma­caf­fer has pen­cilled Luke Hendy in early for a full-back role.

“We will be a more bal­anced side this year with the in­clu­sions,” Ma­caf­fer said.

“We also be­lieve we’re fit. Whether we’re fit­ter than our op­po­nents? We’ll have to wait and see.”

Stawell has an awk­ward start to the sea­son. It is sched­uled to play Ararat in a Good Friday sea­son opener in Ararat but then has a five-week break be­fore its next game.

Fill a play­ing gap

While the War­riors blew off the cob­webs with a prac­tice match against Bal­larat City last week­end, they have also taken the un­usual step of sched­ul­ing an­other prac­tice game on April 14 in Bal­larat af­ter their sea­son has started. Play­ers de­part­ing the War­riors in­clude Jack Beaton, play­ing in Gee­long, and most likely Ju­lian Carr, re­tired.

Last year’s coach and star on-baller Tom Eckel will have a crack at the SANFL but will leave his op­tions open to re­turn to the War­riors.

Club pres­i­dent Tim Wil­liams said the club was ‘tick­ing along nicely’.

“The club is com­mit­ted to gen­er­at­ing a strong environmen­t where fam­i­lies can feel wel­come and com­fort­able to come to the foot­ball or net­ball and have a great day out,” he said.

“I think we’ll be com­pet­i­tive in all grades.

“Ju­nior foot­ball numbers are good, which is a good sign.

“That helps us work to­wards a goal of mak­ing sure we’re around the mark ev­ery year.

“Callawadda Es­tate is com­mit­ted as our ma­jor spon­sor and spon­sor­ship in gen­eral has been on the rise.”

Damien Joiner is Ma­caf­fer’s play­ing as­sis­tant and also joint cap­tain with Cam Kim­ber.

Travis Gra­ham

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