Roos aim high
By GEOFF ROUNDS
THE Kangaroos must win matches from the outset if they are to make their move to the Gold Coast a long-term success.
The North Melbourne outfit has signed a deal with the AFL to play a total of 10 matches at Carrara over three seasons, starting this year.
Speculation abounds that the Roos' deal is the precursor to a permanent relocation to the Gold Coast but Coolangatta product David Hale said yesterday that any move would be reliant upon on-field success.
"It's going to be a good challenge for all of us to succeed," Hale said during a visit to his old club house at Coolangatta.
"The way we go over the next three years will play a big part in what happens.
"The club wants to see if we can get 10 or 15,000 people here first. That would be a good sign for the AFL and if we can win all our games then that would be a pretty good start."
The Kangaroos are in the middle of an intense week of Community Camp activities to promote their arrival on the Coast ahead of their opening NAB pre-season clash against Collingwood to be played at Carrara on Friday, February 23.
The 'Roos have also been hunting off-field support, a move that has riled Brisbane Lions' coach Leigh Matthews who labelled any Gold Coast fans who deserted the Lions "traitors".
With the battle for the Gold Coast heating up, 'Roos coach Dean Laidley returned fire saying that upcoming matches between the two clubs would now have that extra spice.
"We are now joining the Lions as the AFL's vehicle to promote the great game of AFL Football," Laidley said.
"As soon as we take the field I'm sure the Lions will want to stamp their authority but we want to make an immediate impact in this market."
Laidley has pinpointed Hale as a key figure as he looks to turn around the 'Roos on-field fortunes.
The 200cm Hale is set to be shifted from his regular ruck position to centre half forward.
"I came as a forward to the AFL and then got transformed into a ruckman," Hale said yesterday before joining juniors at the Coolangatta Tweed club for a training run.
"It'll be good to go back into a permanent forward role and one I've played in before.
"We all need to improve in this year as we didn't run out a lot of games last year.
"Since October when we started pre-season (training) we've been addressing that issue and if we can run out a few games we should get a few more wins under the belt."
The Kangaroos will commence their Gold Coast campaign with an eagerly anticipated clash against the Lions in Round Four on April 21.
Then follows their round eight meeting against Carlton on Saturday, May 19 and a round 12 match against Adelaide on Saturday, June 16.