Raiders' culture club rising in 2017
A NEW president and a strengthening of culture could prove the catalyst for a rise up the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) ladder for Tweed Coast Raiders in 2017.
The Raiders have handed last year's reserves' coach and former Illawarra Steeler Josh Sattler the presidency after Glen Winters stepped down following the 2016 season.
With Sattler at the helm, the Raiders are building on a strong culture established in 2016 after off-field issues impacted the club over the break.
"On the back of things that happen off the field, we've set a club code. Players that don't assign to that code will be asked to move on, or provide a reason why they should stay at the club,” Sattler said.
"We've taken a lot out of what works for clubs around the world. The All Blacks have a no- dickheads policy and we want to mirror that. We're all about culture and results, so if a player isn't ready for that, they'll be asked to move on.
"Players don't talk about the code, but they know what they have to do. We're focussed on playing footy.”
Sattler said the move had paid strong dividends, with players buying into the cultural shift during pre-season.
He said Raiders, who returned to the NRRRL in 2016 after a five-year hiatus, had retained their senior side and former St George-Illawarra Dragon Corey Maher as coach, which was a testament to their policy of not paying players or coaches.
"It's a great culture being built. We're attracting players and everyone wanted to put the jersey back on,” Sattler said.
"Sustainability looks fantastic and we had 50 blokes at our first session. That's the difference with a group there to play footy as opposed to a group that's paid to be there.
”There's initiatives in place for the players and we've got great sponsors on board.
"We've got guys that want to play for each other and that's what it's all about.”
The Raiders have been working hard to strengthen community relationships which Sattler said were built over 2016.
He said the Cabarita community had embraced the club, who were eyeing a top-three finish in 2017.
"If we don't get a home semi-final this year we haven't down our job,” Sattler said.
"We have the cattle, the planning in place through goal setting and a lot more has gone into pre-season this year.
"The club has something special so look out round one. We're going to be a completely different outfit.”
Raiders will play trial matches against Lower Clarence and Bilambil in March.