Saints march early for 2015 run at title
THE Saints are up and marching early in a bid to win next year's title.
The South Burnett AFL team has started pre-season training with an eye on improving its 2014 season form.
Club president and player Daniel Clacy said fitness was a big factor in the run to the grand final in September.
"We did pre-season last year. It was a hard slog to get through, we did it because we only sort of just started getting fit at the end of the 2013 season," he said.
"Whereas this year we played in the final so realistically we have only really had five-six weeks off, so we want to keep up that fitness."
The team gathered on Thursday at the Taabinga State School oval to run laps and practise kicking and passing.
"This is a bit of a pre-season gathering to blow a few cobwebs out," Clacy said.
"You really need the whole team bonding to play well through the season."
Sharpening up the skill set
Senior team coach Steve Humbler said he would be leading training sessions twice a week from now until the season started.
"The more we do now the better it is down the track," Humbler said.
"We haven't got the ground until after March because of the cricket so this will be base camp."
Humbler said he was eyeing off a few road trips in the future to get some extra game time.
"We didn't get any practice matches in last year, but we're targeting a couple of pre-season matches this year, maybe get in to Gympie."
When the players aren't running laps at the school oval they will be swimming laps at the Kingaroy pool.
"We do a lot of cross training there; we do a lot of work in the sand pit.
"Shuttle runs in the sand pit, we do exercise out on the lawns and we do a lot of pool work."
Clacy said hitting the pool with Kingaroy swimming trainer Joe Dangerfield would have them fighting fit.
"He takes us on one of his boot camps and destroys us one night a week."
Preparing for arch rival
Clacy said he was hoping the pre-season would have the Saints heading into the Darling Downs second division with momentum.
The Saints finished runners up to University in the grand final and will need to find a way to overcome their rivals again if they are to taste glory in 2015.
"Whoever won the grand final was supposed to move up (to first division), but University already has a div one team so they are going to stay in the same as us again next year," Clacy said.
Clacy said the Saints were confident they could challenge for the title.
"If you look at our support this year to previous years, it has grown dramatically and it all comes down to our success."
And there will be extra motivation for the team with star player Adam Bowater acting as assistant coach in what could be his last ever season.
"He was going to hang up his boots at the end of the year, but he decided he wants to get that cup before he disappears," Clacy said.
"He'll get one last crack and see how we go."
Saints recruit women's team
Bowater has also put his hand up to coach the first ever South Burnet Saints women's team.
On Thursday afternoon, Bowater was running a group of women through skills training and teaching them the finer points of the game.
The women's competition has squads of 14 players, unlike the men's competition which requires 18.
And Clacy said there were more than enough women wanting to play to join the competition.
"There's quite a few ladies coming along to training, we've got a lot of interest."