Men's Foley Shield team leans on existing relationships
PLAYERS of the Mackay Men's Foley Shield team did not need to mingle with too many fresh faces this year since the side boasted strong recruitment from mainly two clubs.
Souths Sharks and Wests Tigers players made up over 70 percent of this year's team with two players from Magpies and one each from Whitsunday Brahmans, Sarina Crocodiles and Brothers sprinkled in.
Head coach of the Men's Foley Shield troop, Wayne Barnett, said the pre-existing team dynamics would help with the fluidity of plays and structures on the field.
"We got eight guys from Souths and six guys from Wests so we're really going off combinations this year,” he said.
"It's a one game or two game scenario and I think we need to get those combinations quickly and that's why we went for the bigger numbers in the clubs.
"That's not to say the other clubs weren't considered, we have a good sprinkling of those other boys as well.”
Against Townsville and Cairns teams Mackay will venture to the Townsville Sports Reserve on the weekend chasing the coveted Foley Shield.
Barnett showed confidence in the youthful enthusiasm his men had shown in training.
"I think our forward pack are going to be one of the better ones this year,” he said.
Barnett said he stepped back and let the players bring what they already knew to the competition.
"There's a method to the madness. These guys have their club plays, we just put in some general plays for the group,” he said.
"When you get tired or fatigued they can revert back to what they know best and what they've been doing for the past six months at their club.”
Souths player Schae Mawer, who only moved to Mackay late last year, said he was excited to see what the other North Queensland teams had to offer.
"It being my first trip away and it's great being around a good group of boys and a good coaching staff,” he said.
Mawer said even though the team was made up of several clubs, the MDRL rivalry took a back seat when representing Mackay.
"We've all come from different clubs, but we played our trials and had some trainings, so now we're together we just need to play as a team and make it work,” he said.
" We all have a job to do so if we can do it for two 80 minute games and get the win, that's all we want.”
Playing alongside some of the best MDRL players, Mawer said he would be doing some reconnaissance for when he returned to the local competition.
"Wests players like Jesse Dee and Sam Clune have smart footy brains, so when you play alongside them in a game you'll take some notes and then play against them twice this year,” he said.
"I think it helps Souths, so whatever helps the club along the way will be good.”
First time member of the Foley Shield team Beaudan Dixon had an inside look at the opposition.
With a few mates in the Cairns team Dixon said his bet was on Mackay to win the match.
"I sort of know what their club is like. Apparently they're not as strong as they think,” he said.
"Townsville is definitely the stronger side.”
Barnett and Dixon said that while numbers from clubs other than Wests and Souths are limited, the players involved could be the biggest threats.
"Nicho Roberts from Magpies will play really well,” Dixon said.
Barnett gave his vote of confidence to Kyle Kennedy and Ivan Petelo.
"He's (Kennedy) quick, he's lighting,” Barnett said.
"(Setaimata) Sa from Sarina told me 'he's your x-factor', which is what we need.
"Ivan was there last year, he knows what it's all about. He's a big kid and he'll get us through.”