The silly season has well and truly begun, and Surfers Paradise is leading the charge early.
With such a young group of players down at Sir Bruce Small Oval, it’s important to make sure that you have the right mix of experienced heads around them to lead the way, and that’s exactly what the Demons have done.
Fraser Pope, Tim Bradbury, and Jesse Haberfield will all return home full time to the red and blue in 2016
All three will having coaching roles, with Pope also lacing up the boots for the senior team.
Fraser Pope, the 2012 Grogan Medalist will control the stoppage work, Jesse Haberfield will be in charge of the defensive side of things, and Tim Bradbury, who has returned after a stint at Labrador, will coach the reserves.
That allows last years reserves coach, Shannan Tate to become a senior assistant, looking after the academy and state players as well.
Senior Coach Peter Young said it is essential getting experienced guys in to nurture the younger brigade of Demons.
“We think we have got some really good young talent here, so getting the right people involved is really important,” Young said.
“I think these guys are going to have a big influence on these young kids, who can hopefully have long careers with Surfers, or go on to play high level football.”
In terms off pure footballing ability, Pope will be one of the classiest players floating around in the QAFL in 2016, but it’s his leadership that will be just as valuable.
“One thing I believe where we fell down last year as a group, which probably cost us a spot in the finals was leadership, especially at clutch moments when games can be won, and Popey brings that with him, as well as a wealth of experience,” Young said.
He believes that the development that is created in the reserves team, which Bradbury will lead, is a fundamental aspect of future success.
“It’s crucial. We played boys that probably weren’t ready this year, but we wanted to give them game time. We have put a lot of time into our under 17’s, because we see them as the next group coming through, which is why those guys have played senior footy, and why the reserves element is so important,” Young said.
What these appointments allow for is Shannan Tate to have a more involved role in the senior element of things.
“This year, we had Shannan Tate coaching the twos, who came back from his experience with the Stingrays and with the State 16’s, so we felt he could come up and really help me, and work closely with the academy boys,” he said.
Having Tim come in, knowing he will do the same job as Tatea, and hopefully help improve our kids coming through, that’s what we are looking for.
Having more hands on deck will also allow for Young work more intimately with players, placing a greater emphasis on the education side of things.
“We only had three coaches last year. This year, I will be able to spend more time with the players, and really focus on them individually, and what they need. Our education program is what we believe will help us be successful over the next few years,” he said.
While these three additions are huge, Surfers Paradise isn’t done recruiting just yet.
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles
Photo credit: Highflyer Images