By Terry Wilson
Gold Coast Bulletin
FOR too long locked in the cellar of the Pineapple Hotel Cup, the Mayne Tigers appear set to claw their way back to competition respectability after some excellent off-season signings.
Sweeping changes have been made at Mott Street, not the least the reinstatement of Mitch Ferguson as head coach after 2011 player-coach Luke Faulkner agreed to step aside.
Ferguson will have former Springwood coach Brad Pollock as his assistant, plus a couple of as yet unnamed extras to help out on the boundary line.
Faulkner will continue on as a player, likely to be included in the leadership group after winning Mayne’s best and fairest last season.
But the return of champion former dual B&F winner Caleb Brown from Mayne, presents the Tigers with some headaches when it comes to selecting a captain.
Brown, 28, has `come home’ after satisfying himself he was up to NEAFL standard, which was the main reason he played with the Panthers last year.
Brown not only played for Queensland against West Australia, but also he made the Footy Record’s Team of the Year.
Asked if he feels the Tigers will have plenty of bite back with his return, along with those of Luke Ferguson and Tom Falconer, Brown replied: “I’d like to think so, but it’ll take a lot more than us coming back to get off the bottom. Even when we there before we still finished at the bottom.
“I had a year in the NEAFL and did a lot better than I thought I would.
“But work is pretty busy now and I missed my mates. I want to try to finally have some success with them.”
What Brown likes is the fact Mayne blooded many younger players in 2011 and the club is ready to reap the reward of doing that.
“Faulks did a good job getting some youth and enthusiasm in the team,” said Brown.
Also returning to the yellow and black are past pair Jack Collings and Corbin Sellen and Ben Davies, a half-forward from Redlands.
Collings is first cousin to Brown and played for Morningside last year while Sellen, a junior star on the Darling Downs, returns to the club where he played his first season of senior football at in 2008.
And the Tigers are still in the hunt to sign some more players from the NEAFL premiership.
The only loss of note is Jake McGill, who is off overseas for an extended holiday.
Mitch Ferguson, who did not really retire after the 2010 season he continued to help out as Faulkner’s sideline eyes is enthusiastic about the new-look Mayne, especially with the club on a solid financial footing with a new sponsor in place and new dressing sheds at Everton Park.
Mayne failed to win a game last year, although several times led more fancied teams only to fall apart on just one quarter.
With some wiser heads out on the field to support Faulkner and super veteran Andrew Housego, the Tigers may just be ready to show some roar at last.