Redbacks wish for premiership
THE Redbacks Hockey Club is celebrating its 50th year and there's only one thing on the club's wish list - a first-grade premiership.
After creating a piece of Tweed Border Hockey history last year by qualifying for the men's first division grand final for the first time in 28 years, the club is looking to go one better, and new assistant senior coaches Andrew Kirby, Shane Colefax and senior coach Geoff Wotherspoon are determined to make that happen.
Kirby, who has returned to the club after a couple of years playing with All Stars in the Gold Coast competition, believes the club is well positioned to finally lift the premiership from the arms of the champion Waratahs club.
“We had a great season last year, and to make the grand final was a credit to the side and the club,” Kirby said.
“There are some very talented young players, and to come so close has just made the players that much hungrier.
“We have started training and have 16 players in the first division alone all competing for positions in the top side.
“It's great for the club and it means that all the players will be putting pressure on each other to perform.”
Kirby, who has a 23-year history with the club, said the days of the side being easy beats were well and truly gone.
“Geoff Wotherspoon has done an incredible job building this side into one which is very competitive, and that has come through building team unity,” Kirby said.
“He has got the side playing for each other and all working together and that has produced the results we have seen.”
Kirby said there was plenty of energy and enthusiasm in the side with young players the likes of Australian junior Jake Farrell and Queensland state rep Dylan Wotherspoon - both of whom are also trialling for the Queensland under-18 side - and Cam Barnes rejoining his brothers Josh and Ashley after playing last season with Casuarina.
“The Tweed competition is getting stronger, with all clubs improving and with Waratahs, led by Tim Willis, being the benchmark team, we know that this season there won't be any easy games,” Kirby said.
“Apart from the local Tweed competition, we also want to do well in the JH Williams comp.
“Last year the boys possibly felt a little intimidated by the Gold Coast and Lismore sides, but no more.
“I think we have a bit more mongrel in us this season, and you need that for the JH Williams series.
“There's a feeling already within Redbacks that this is our year, and what better way to top off our 50th than claiming the biggest prize in Tweed hockey.”
Kirby said the club was interested in hearing from any past players and supporters who may have Redbacks memorabilia or press clipping, old photos or items and stories of interest about the club for a planned 50th anniversary reunion.
Contact club president Stuart Maloney on firstname.lastname@example.org