Mariners focus on consistency in lead-up to season opnener
THE Fraser Coast Mariners are preparing for their biggest assault on the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union competition in years.
It's been almost two months since the Mariners lost 31-24 to a combined Bundaberg side in their only trial this year.
But with strong player numbers at training, co-coach Trent Devere said he wasn't concerned about the late start to the reserve grade season.
"The Mariners pre-season has been really good with a positive attitude among the playing group," Devere said.
"The main focus has been skill development and
training drills that have focused on in-game situations with lots of variables thrown into the mix to mimic game situations and things that happen in games."
It gives the Mariners confidence they can beat Maroochydore in their season opener in Hervey Bay on Saturday. However, Devere knows the importance of having his team ready.
"We need a quality performance," he said.
"If each player gives 100% and is happy with their performance, Adam (Ebert, co-coach) and I will be happy and will have a really good base to work from.
"We feel prepared and are ready to play.
"Saturday will be the correct measure of whether we were prepared enough."
Devere said the 2015 season will be about future development and not dwelling on the past.
"The main goal of the side this year is consistent performance and not focus too much on results," he said.
"A team who has not had the success they would have liked in the last few years doesn't need to focus on winning or losing it's all about consistent performance.
"We also want to develop the skill set of our players and develop our younger players as best as we can."
Fraser Coast finished with just two wins last season, but Devere was confident he had the players at his disposal to match any team in the competition.
"Tom Hewitt has been very impressive in the off-season and we will look to him to be a forward leader on the field throughout the year," he said.
"Kale Hendle is also improving each week and will start at fullback this weekend.
"We are looking to use his running game more out wide as he normally plays five-eighth and doesn't get the opportunities to run as much playing in there."
Devere was also delighted to see many new and returning faces in the team.
"Josh Hutchinson played in the trial for us against Bundy but this will be his first competition game," he said.
"He is 17 and has a great
attitude at training and is developing really well into a promising young player.
"Alex Heaney is starting at five-eighth for us this week and will play when available throughout the year.
"His experience at five-eighth is valuable and he steers the team around the park well.
"Jasper Brigden returns from the Sunshine Coast and will look to make a big impact in the forwards."