By Beth Newman
It’s one of the younger lists in the QAFL, but Surfers Paradise coach, Beau Zorko says it’s a more mature group that will take the field for the Demons this year.
With experienced heads, Jake Ryan and Jason Torney retiring and Clint Cassidy heading to Labrador, much of the load will fall to players in their early 20s, but Zorko said they were ready to take on more responsibility.
“The nucleus and the core of our senior group have really started to grow up,” he said.
“Their commitment levels and the maturity that they’re showing on the ground is as good as it’s ever been.”
The majority of that group have played together through consecutive finals campaigns, and Zorko said their cohesion would be crucial in 2014.
“I think our personnel change, as much as we’ve lost some experience and quality, I feel the group is as harmonious and enthusiastic and keen to learn as they’ve ever been,” he said.
“That energy and enthusiasm alone can help you, particularly when you’ve got a group that’s prepared to listen and learn from their mistakes really quickly.”
Zorko said it was hard to set an explicit results target for his side, in the restructured QAFL competition, which will have six teams from last year’s division one competition.
“We’re regarded in that mix with Wilston Grange and the Western Magpies and Sandgate and UQ , and we don’t really know how much we’re going to improve,” he said.
It’s exciting because I think 2014 is going to be one big rollercoaster. And I think that there’ll be some highs, there’ll be some lows, and there’ll be some bumps.”
“I’d be disappointed if, with the work we’d done off season, we hadn’t moved forward and kept ahead of the clubs we were ahead of last year, at the very least.”
The Demons have continued their policy of internal development, with only a handful of players coming into the fold this season.
Zorko said the club’s focus on development has reaped rewards for players, with youngsters such as Cassidy Haberfield, Dylan Mutu and Harrison Fraser all beneficiaries of this.
All three played senior football for the Demons last season, and are now pushing for NEAFL and state teams.
“We’ve been renowned for having a good nursery and looking at the bigger picture, it helps to provide a pathway for some of those kids who have aspirations to play in the NEAFL.”
“I’d like to think we’ve done our job so well that these guys have really progressed and we’ve pushed them out the door because they’re ready.
“That then opens up the opportunity for the other guys here to fill the void and take that next step.”
Click above for our video chat with Demons coach, Beau Zorko.
Depth is not really a concern at Surfers Paradise, with their reserves having a strong history.
Last year’s Division One reserves best and fairest, Daniel Green, has put himself well into the senior frame, and the club sees him as almost a new recruit, after the work he has put in over the summer.
Surfers Paradise has picked up a couple of handy recruits, headed by South Australian, Nathan Trevena.
Trevena, 23, previously played at Southport and also had stints with Norwood and Centrals in the SANFL.
The midfielder, who has struggled with consistency because of injury, will be joined by former Ainslie star, Jesse Griffin.
Surfers Paradise will get its first taste of QAFL action against the 2013 Division One Premiers, Palm Beach at Salk Oval on April 5.
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).