It could be said that the Demons were the most unpredictable side of 2016. At their best they appeared capable of anything, like when they smashed Morningside, … and back-to-back premiers Labrador in a three-week hot streak. They had lapses though, costing them dearly at stages last year, like the three straight losses from rounds 8 to 10 which meant they barely made the finals. The footy community will be waiting to find out which side of Surfers will turn up in 2017, the good or the bad.
The Demons lineup this year is stacked with youth, making Daniel Green the only player over thirty suiting up in the red and navy. Fair player though. From the young brigade, Mitch Comben and Lachie Anderson have come a long way during the pre-season and have looked good in trial matches. Harrison Fraser looks let to back up last year’s good form with a similar start to 2017, having impressed the new coach early on.
Initially signed on to do the junior coaching job, Brad Moore then put his hand up when the senior position became available and hasn’t looked back.
“As it turns out I’ll be coaching the seniors, but still I’ve got my finger in the pie with the junior club as well, to make sure I can help out there,” said Moore.
It’s this link, along with a grounding in development coaching that’s been behind a new initiative that will require senior players to get involved with the junior club.
“I think it’s really important that you put back in to your football club and the senior players have been really responsive to that,” said the coach.
Owing to the youth in the senior lineup Moore is planning to play a fast, play on at all costs game style with an emphasis on moving the football quickly.
“We’re going to be a young and enthusiastic side, so we’re going to look at taking the game on at all opportunities,” said Moore.
“We’ll look at really working on our defensive structures, and working on how we’re going to be able to win the ball and also stop the opposition when they have possession of the footy as well.”
It’s a young group, but the coach has been impressed with a lot of players who have taken their game to another level over the pre-season.
“We’re really in the younger echelon of a playing group, but they’ve all taken responsibility and I think a few of them have really stepped up,” said Moore.
The Demons pre-season has had a greater focus on running compared to previous years, so the players are now enjoying skill and game-based training with round one around the corner.
“It’s been quite a long pre-season but I think it’s only going to benefit us, due to having such a new list and the new coaching staff obviously,” said Demons captain Jake Tooma.
According to the skipper the adjustment to the new game plan is going well and the players have been receptive.
“It is a different game style . . . it’s a different game plan, the whole playing group support it, we really enjoy playing this way, (and) it’s really going to be exciting to get it out into proper practice against some decent opposition,” said the captain.
Tooma is feeling good after an injury free pre-season and will be playing a different role on the field this year.
“It looks like I’m heading down forward this year, which isn’t a shame, but look, if the team needs me down back, midfield, whatever, I’m just happy to be out there with the boys really,” said Tooma.
There’s no doubt the Demons will surprise a few teams in 2017, young talent often does that. Still, inconsistency tends to plague younger teams in all levels of footy so it’ll be a challenging year for Brad Moore for that reason. The Demons just squeezed in to the finals series last season and this year it looks tight again with sides like Morningside, Broadbeach and Wilston Grange gunning for a finals berth. This year the Demons may find themselves squeezed out.
By Sean Melrose