HIT: Fraser Coast's Tom Hewitt.
HIT: Fraser Coast's Tom Hewitt. JAMES LOOSE

Hewitt has his eye on the SCRU finals

THE goal is clear: return the Fraser Coast Mariners to the top four.

The Mariners will start preseason training on Thursday ahead of a Sunshine Coast Rugby Union reserve grade season front-rower Tom Hewitt hopes is one in which they feature in the finals.

Fraser Coast appeared in its first finals series when they finished in the top four in 2015. They reached the preliminary final, but missed the cut in both 2016 and 2017.

Slow starts often hamper the Mariners' season, as representative duty renders players like Hewitt unavailable for club games.

But it is when those players return, Hewitt said, the Mariners switch on.

"Rep footy hurt us a bit at the start (of the 2017 season) but once we have everyone back, we're a cohesive unit,” Hewitt said.

"The top four is our goal.

"We made it in 2015 but have missed out every other year.”

Hewitt played rugby at Xavier Catholic College before he joined the Mariners in 2008.

He fought for his position in the Fraser Coast's reserve grade team and earned his start in the top grade.

The 27-year-old is considered an elder statesman of the Mariners fold. Not only has he given almost 10 years of service to the region's sole rugby union club, he has gone on to some of the biggest sides.

The former Sunshine Coast Stingrays premier grade player is a regular fixture in the Wide Bay Whales, and played for Central Queensland at the Queensland Country Championships last year.

He and Mariners co-coach Trent Devere toured New Zealand and Argentina with the Australian Stockman Rugby Union team, which featured former Wallabies player Guy Shepherdson and players selected from regional, grassroots clubs.

The SCRU is yet to release a draw for the upcoming season, but the Mariners are expected to start their new campaign in early April.

The Mariners called for interested players to attend the club's first training session on Thursday.

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