Warriors under new leadership
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.