Season 2016 was a bit of a mixed bag for the Cats, an unlucky string of injuries didn’t help and a 7-11 ledger meant they ended up missing the finals. On the bright side, time invested in younger players during the 2016 season should start to pay dividends and if Broadbeach can manage to play consistent footy, it should lead to some more wins in 2017.
When analyzing their off-season activity, the Cats definitely fall into the ‘very active’ bracket. For the most part, they’ve aimed for taller, skilled midfielders along with players who can run with the football.
The Broadbeach faithful will be hoping Southport product Robbie Blood can get on the outside and hurt the opposition this year with his pace. There’s also Jai Lyons, in from Redlands who the club views as an elite runner and Jarred Ellis, a former rookie listed SUNS player.
It’s also worth noting that last year the Cats’ list had only three players over the age of 23. This time around they’ve injected some more experience into the lineup with ex-Southport players Luke Shreeve and Mitch Brewer coming in as leaders to help develop the young squad.
Notable outs include Ryan Pantic, a two time best and fairest that has made his way over to Southport.
When compared with the same time last year, senior coach Brett Andrews is feeling a lot more comfortable heading into the season.
“My role’s changed a bit, we’ve gone from three people doing everything, to having seven or eight people to choose from now,” said Andrews.
Now with a few more on the playing list to work with, the game plan has taken a new turn.
“We’ll be very fast out of the backline and we’ll be heading express, I think we’ll be a catch us if you can sort of side,” said the Broadbeach coach.
While the Cats have brought in a lot of outside run, they still need players to do the contested work to get the ball out and Andrews is confident they’ve got the right balance.
“We’ve got very fast legs outside, (and) we’ve got enough inside to warrant those blokes getting the ball,” said the coach.
“Last year we were a huge turnover side, and momentum breakers, so if we can hold the momentum and hold the footy I think we’ll be hard to beat.”
In a recent change at the club the Colts now train with the seniors, something that skipper Nathan Quick thinks helps raise the energy of the group.
“Yeah, they’re (Colts) always pretty up and about so, yeah, energy’s been really good,” said Quick.
On the training track the captain has been impressed with quite a few players over the pre-season but Ben Presser caught his eye as a standout.
“(He) played in our first pre-season game against Bond and he (Presser) was pretty exciting,” said Quick.
With the real stuff drawing closer, Quick highlighted a number of positives from around the club, right down to the attitude he’s noticed coming from the players.
“It’s still a few weeks away so, tying to keep a lid on it, but the professionalism, has been a big improvement, so yeah, just pumped to get into it now,” said the captain.
There’s genuine optimism around the club in the build up to the season and it’s translated to on-field performance, the Cats falling a couple of goals short of premiers Labrador in the club’s practice game. The Cats also have a good mix of senior experience and exciting young talent, led by an enthusiastic coach. All this should see them improve on last year’s performance and be a contender come finals time.