McKay back with Blues
THE astute Neil McKay has been reappointed head coach of Coolangatta Blues for next year's AFL Queensland State League competition and has lost little time in getting the good ship "Blues" ship-shape for the upcoming season.
McKay has programmed the first training for 6.30pm (NSW) on Tuesday at Len Peak Oval and has also been quickly into stride to retain key players, as well as start negotiations with suitable recruits.
This includes making contact with Papua New Guinea national coach David Lake, who has steered several quality players into the Blues camp over several seasons.
Two of those players will be backing up next year - livewire Paul Philip and Johnny Vangue - and are likely to be joined by two compatriots.
"I've let David know that we are in the market for a small forward who can kick goals and a busy midfielder," McKay said yesterday.
"David's always come to the party previously and I expect him to find us the players we want once again."
The Papua New Guinea men will arrive to join the team early in the New Year.
"They should arrive fairly fit, because David Lake will be working with them.
"All that remains will be to introduce them to their new teammates and to our game plan," McKay said.
McKay has been negotiating with several tall players with Victoria Football League experience and is hopeful of a number of them making the trip north to link with the Blues.
The coach also revealed that club stalwart Doug Hawkins will be pulling on the boots again next season.
"Doug is a real inspiration for all of us and I'm delighted that he has decided to play on," McKay said.
The veteran club captain had another outstanding season in 2011.
His form got better and better with each game and at season's end he was a worthy recipient of the club's best and fairest award.
McKay said the club is also hopeful of retaining the services of the outstanding Jake Byrush.
"Whether he stays or not depends on Jake's studies and perhaps work commitments.
"He has been invaluable to the Blues and everyone at the club is keeping their fingers crossed that he stays with us next season," he said.
Anyone interested in linking with Cooly Blues as a player, coach or official should contact Neil McKay on 0410 424 442.