Buccaneers president Stuart Taylor.
Buccaneers president Stuart Taylor. Matthew McInerney

Five things the Buccs did well, and five mistakes

FOOTBALL: The premature removal of foundation coach Tim Lunnon ranks as one of the five biggest mistakes Wide Bay Buccaneers made in its inaugural year.

Buccaneers president Stuart Taylor listed five things the club did well, and five mistakes they made as the Football Queensland Premier League team started its trials for the 2019 season.

Lunnon was sensationally dumped three weeks into the FQPL season. Taylor and the Buccaneers hierarchy declared the visions of the club and Lunnon, one of the only locally-based coaches with National Premier Leagues experience, did not align.

"I think dismissing the head coach without working through it more with him,” Taylor said. "I was reactionary and should've showed more diligence and resolve, and not affected those relationships.”

Buccaneers officials were pressured by players who threatened to leave the club had a change not been made, but the decision led to Lunnon's declaration he would step away from the sport he loved.

Taylor's admission comes as the Buccaneers continue its search of a head coach as the side prepares for its second FQPL season, and pursues its first senior win.

Whoever fits the bill will need to understand the impact of fortnightly travel to Brisbane - another mistake Taylor said they made.

"I don't think we understood the burden of travel,” Taylor said. "We had to be more insistent with other clubs and Football Queensland.”

The Buccaneers' other mistakes included the call not to take junior players to the community club football event in Mackay, overstretching volunteers ("we needed to treat the Buccaneers as a club as far as the volunteer base is concerned. We should have set those roles”) and the branding of the junior program.

FQ refers to it as the Skills Acquisition Phase program, but it's a phrase that doesn't mean anything to parents.

"I don't think anyone understands what SAP is,” Taylor said. "We've rebranded it the Buccs Academy, and since then we've had a lot more interest in the juniors.”

The Buccaneers will learn from each of those, but there's of good work on which to build, particularly in the juniors.

Players, coaches and officials involved have created a strong, positive program through the youngest age groups, a culture of professionalism and love for football which will carry the club well into the future.

"We spent a lot of time in the youth programs and worked with players to create a sense of belonging,” Taylor said.

The club's senior coaching struggles was well-documented, but the Buccaneers picked a near perfect lineup for the junior teams.

Taylor said the club had branded itself as a regional team, one that can mix it with the heavily-populated and well-resourced clubs from the south east corner.

"There results weren't there in the seniors but the Buccaneers brand is strong,” he said.

With that, comes the advances in the travel aspect.

While it was certainly a mistake not to push harder for Wide Bay-friendly kick-off times the start of the season, the way the players drew together as the year wore on has set the standard for 2019.

The biggest takeaway for Taylor is the playing style, a brand and format of play that will define the Buccaneers in the long term.

"We have developed a Buccaneers playing style, it's an exciting brand of football you see in our junior grades,” he said.

"We have a great style. The unders-13s, 14s, 15s - they all played that attractive, progressive football.

"There's a lot to like about what we've done but there's a lot to develop into next year.”

What do you think of the Wide Bay Buccaneers? Send us an email: sport@fraser coastchronicle.com.au.

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