Woolley’s midfield move the key to B&F

Josh Woolley’s 2015 will probably be remembered for that hanger against Mt Gravatt, but it would be remiss to not look deeper.

Woolley really found his feet in the QAFL in 2015. A move into the midfield paid immediate dividends with the Tasmanian product, in his second year at Palm Beach, taking out the Best and Fairest Award by two votes to Jesse Derrick.

“I thought I had a much better season this year compared to last. It was my first year up in Queensland after moving from Tasmania. I found the league reasonably similar to the footy down in Tassie, but it was hard last year getting used to a new coach, all the new players, and how they play the game,” Woolley said.

“Getting used to the weather up here also took a bit.

“I think this year moving up into the midfield from the backline and even playing a bit in the forward line has been really good, and helped my game a lot.”

That midfield move was something Chad Owens implemented as soon as he took over as senior coach.

“Playing in the midfield definitely helped me a lot, and I owe that to Chad Owens for putting me in there and giving me a go. I haven’t played in there for five or six years, so it’s great to have help from Toddy Bryant and Brock Askey who are dominant in there week in week out,” he said.

As one of the most athletic players running around this year, Woolley’s greatest strength is the length he provides the Lions.

Not only does he have one of the longest kicks in the game, but regularly gains five or 10 extra metres due to his explosiveness off the mark.

“I think I got that from playing in the backline. It didn’t matter if my opponent was bigger or smaller, my main objective was to beat my man and then run off him to try and be utilized up the ground as much as possible. I brought that aspect into my midfield game, and it’s definitely helped me improve,” Woolley said.

While 2015 was a successful year personally, he was left disappointed with how it ended on the team front after Palm Beach missed a finals berth by percentage only.

“We thought realistically that we were going to play finals, and I thought to myself that we were going to play finals even through the last couple of games. A couple of injuries and a couple of guys playing for Southport hurt us a bit. It was disappointing,” he said.

With a great group of youngsters around him, Woolley believes it won’t take much to take that next step in 2016.

“We had a sit down, myself and a few leaders in the group with the coaching staff, and what we are lacking is just a couple of mature age players, from about 23 to 27. We have got a lot of young kids, just need a bit of mature depth, which will help take us a long way,” he said.

“The younger guys are showing some good potential at the moment, they are going to be very good players, and it’s going to be exciting to see what they can bring to the group in the coming years.”

If you take a glass half full approach to the year, it’s spurred Woolley on for a bigger and better 2016.

“I’m really eager to get back into training, and get back into the motions again. I’m looking forward to a really big year; I want to play finals again. I want to keep my fitness up, I’ve got a bit I can need to improve on, so I’ll focus on that during the pre-season,”

I couldn’t let him go without asking about the mark.

“I didn’t really to be honest know that I was going to do that. I saw Dakota kick the ball in, I stuck my hand up, ran into the space, and for some reason, there was a bloke under me and I was up there. I thought to myself jeez I’m up pretty high up here,” he laughed.

Woolley and his Palm Beach teammates are due back at pre-season training tonight, ready to get stuck in for what they hope will be a big year ahead.

By Andrew Wiles

Our Supporters