Seahorses are ?licensed to thrill
By GREG WHITE
THE nearer we draw to the commencement of the Carlton Mid Group 2 season, the more enthusiastic Woolgoolga captain-coach Michael Close becomes.
He's even got the squad decked out in new training gear with a 'licenced to thrill' logo.
After bowing out to Sawtell in last year's preliminary final, the Seahorses have been the most active of all the clubs during the off-season, building up their strength with an influx of quality imports.
"There's expectation we'll do well," Close agrees.
"We want to make a good start to the year as the club has been traditionally slow to get a roll on.
"The key is being defensively strong and muscling up against every side we face."
Close looked at the club's for-and-against record from 2006 and decided one obvious pattern needed changing.
"We scored a lot of points in winning matches but at the same time we conceeded far too many," he said.
"That comes back to aggressive defence and I believe we've got plenty of mongrel in the pack and a fair bit of cheek in our backline, as well."
Close has been joined by brother Adam, another former North Sydney Bear who specialises in the second row and a member of Eden's (Group 16) premiership-winning side from last year.
Ryan Farrell has been picked up from Lakes United in the Newcastle competition while Tim McManus brings a huge reputation with him from Wentworthville in the Jim Beam Cup.
"Tim was leading pointscorer in that competition and he'll give the team something extra by adding to the wide choice of goalkickers we have in the club," the coach said.
One of the biggest problems Close faces is naming a starting lineup for the season opener against Nambucca Heads ? not from a lack of players, but for the embarrassment of riches he appears to have at his disposal.
"The trial this weekend and the final hit-out against Orara will give me a final chance to see how everybody goes," he said.
Woolgoolga play Manly A Grade champions Valley United at the Sports Reserve from 5pm this Saturday.