Hawks happy to be QAFL underdogs

By Beth Newman

The Sandgate Hawks know they belong in the QAFL, and coach, Rob Dickfos, says they won’t be letting any team off easy.

Sandgate’s developing list flew out from under the radar in the SEQAFL last season, a surprise finals contender  late in the season, and they’re not about to let their foot of the pedal, Dickfos said.

A key pillar of their preparation for the 2014 QAFL is the maintenance of a strong fitness base, something which enabled them to stay in matches for longer against more experienced sides last year.

‘I just need to make sure we can run out games,” he said.

“We’ve worked twice as hard (as last year) in this pre-season.”

With an extra season of senior football under their belts, Dickfos said the Hawks’ next challenge was maintaining consistency through games and from week to week.

“We can’t afford, which is normally the case with young guys, to have a great one and then not be seen for a couple of weeks,” he said.

“If we manage it properly and keep them in the right mindset, we should be able to get that.”

In the last 12 months, the Hawks have gone from a side just having a crack to developing a legitimate belief and confidence in their chances, and Dickfos said their expectations had risen to match that.

“We’ve gone from an unknown entity last year with a lot of young boys and you’d think our expectations would be higher this year,” he said.

“We expect more from ourselves ,we expect to work harder because the competition’s going to be harder , we expect to be more committed because you’re going to be required to because our competition are bigger, stronger, faster and  more talented.”

Click above to watch our video chat with Rob Dickfos.

Sandgate did not have to pick a player in this month’s mini-draft, 11 players aligned to the Hawks prior to last month’s mini-drafts, and Dickfos said those players could ultimately play an important role in the side’s development.

“When we’re looking for our side, we’re just saying, they’re all Sandgate players anyway, they’re all over at Aspley trying to get better and if they don’t get the opportunity they just come back to their club.

“They’ll come back and help our competition get stronger, that’s what the pathways all about.”

The Hawks have welcomed one of those juniors back into their clubs this season, with Liam Rutledge returning to Sandgate, after playing with Aspley in the NEAFL.

As well as Rutledge, Sandgate has added Aspley’s Ryan Eyles and Nick Warren to their developing side, while the recovery of Ben Conway (ACL) and Sam Summers (shoulder) could be key to their performance this year.

Summers is on track to return after the Easter break, while Conway is expected to begin full contact work in the coming weeks, but the hawks won’t be taking any undue risks with the pair.

“I’m just hopeful that because of the work they’ve done, when they come back they come back for good,” Dickfos said.

While they did surprise plenty last year, the Hawks are flying under the radar this pre-season, and Dickfos said he knew they would need to continue to lift this season.

“At times last year, we were underestimated but that didn’t matter to us, we just got working and we got some reward,” he said.

“Because the competition’s harder, we know we have to be even more switched on and work on our skills even more because now we’ll be playing even more sides who will crucify you worse for any lapses in concentration or poor mistakes.

“The players are excited about the contest and that’s a good thing.”

The Hawks take on UQ at Oval 7 on April 5 in their first QAFL match.

Like the official QAFL Facebook page.

 Follow the QAFL on Twitter: @QAFLnews.

Follow Beth on Twitter: @bethknewman

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

The Queensland Australian Football League aspires to be the best community-based football competition in the state.  Provide a player pathway to the NEAFL/AFL and provide opportunities for the best community players to represent their clubs in a quality competition.

Clubs applied for a QAFL licence based on 6 core pillars (Administration, Finance, Brand & Culture, Performance, Facilities and Strategic Plan).

Our Supporters