Gorillas upping the ante for 2014 QAFL

By Beth Newman

Wilston grange coach, Matt Trewhella, only needs to look back seven months to know that optimism in March doesn’t necessarily translate to September success.

One of only two teams to defeat eventual premiers, Palm Beach, during the regular season, Wilston Grange were left pondering what might have been as Surfers Paradise ended their season in the first week of finals.

It was the second year in a row that the Demons put a full stop on Wilston Grange’s season, and the pain of that hasn’t left Trewhella’s players.

“I think a lot of guys hurt from it,” he said.

“The year before we got flogged and I think we limped over the line.

“You don’t want losing to be the motivator, you want winning to be the motivator but a couple of years ago we probably didn’t train that hard and expected to win, whereas last year we wanted to win and we didn’t.”

While Trewhella hasn’t spoken to his side about the loss, he said pre-season training efforts have shown it is still keenly felt, and they are determined for history to stop repeating at 2013.

“I think some of these guys are going to learn a valuable footy lesson about putting in the effort and not getting the rewards you deserve,” he said.

“Maybe (they’ll remember) certain points in the year where they didn’t come to training that one time, or could’ve trained harder or played harder or could’ve done a rehab or something.”

“Maybe that loss might be a catalyst to motivate them and I think definitely personally and for some of the guys that are training at the moment since November, you can tell they’ve been driven particularly by that loss.”

Click above to check out our video chat with Matt Trewhella.

Shifting from two to three nights of training, starting pre-season earlier and increasing the intensity of every session has had a snowball effect on the Gorillas’ professionalism.

With the step up in intensity and an influx of new recruits, Trewhella said there would be some fall out, but he was prepared for the good and the bad.

“We’ve got a lot of new players and stepping up a level means some guys are going to have to come up to the level or they’re going to be left behind,” he said.

“We’ve given everyone the opportunity to train, to get fit, to get stronger and we’ve given them those opportunities and whether or not they’ve taken it is going to determine the way they play.

After a relatively stable list last season, Wilston Grange has picked it up a notch in the off-season, recruiting a number of former Aspley players, including Bradie Foster, Scott Waters, Alex Brighaus and Frazer Eaton.

Despite having one of the more experienced lists in the competition, Trewhella said the side’s performance would hinge on the development of their mid-range and more inexperienced players.

“We’re just trying to look at getting the younger kids and that middle tier ready to be able to play and support your main 18 players,” he said.

A number of colts players notched up senior football last season and those young players have been integrated into the senior training group over summer.

“They’re all highly skilled and a lot of them have now played senior footy and we had them in integrated training with the seniors for part of the year and we’re starting to see the impacts of that now,” he said.

“They’re putting on some real size, they’ve been some of our best trainers and they’ve been here since November.”

Trewhella said he would reward those guys who had impressed, with chances in upcoming practice matches.

Wilston Grange plays its first QAFL match against the Western Magpies on April 5 at Sunlinc Oval.

The QAFL has been reformed in season 2014 due to a restructure of the NEAFL competition.

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