With the ACTG season about to kick off in a couple of months, it's inevitable that the ACT Gridiron teams are going into pre-season training mode.
Central Spears started their campaign last week with Wednesday night training for the Senior Men's, Women's & Junior teams. Each team have their own challenges to face and overcome as they prepare for this upcoming season.
While the Senior Men are the current Capital Bowl champions for the 4th year running, the fight is on to see if a 5th consecutive title can be clinched for the first time in the league's history. Easier said than done faced with retired players and injuries, this may prove to be even more of an uphill battle for the Men.
Spears Women are back for an opportunity to play a full season due to the cancellation of the 2015 season. Cancellation was due to inadequate player numbers for opposing teams across the league. Despite this set back, a number of the Spears women have still managed to keep themselves busy by finding alternate Gridiron playing opportunities as an effort to promote the sport for women within our wider community. The women are Opal Bowl winners for 2014 and hope to repeat the same success for 2016.
The Junior squad ended last season as runners up. A number of players graduate to Senior Men level, the challenge is on to recruit fresh players. The Juniors, like the Senior Men, won the Junior competition in the first season of the club in 2012 and have been runners up for 3 years in a row. It is vital for the club to continue a strong junior program in support of retiring Senior players.
Sean Gautusa, previous club president, who stepped down late into last season due to other pressing commitments, has been instrumental with how far the club has come. Leadership, organised committee members, player commitments can be credited for the young club's achievements.
New club president, Jason O'Brien, is aware of the challenges ahead aiming to continue the success adding to the legacy of the Spears club. Together with exec and club member support, this should make for an exciting season as first year in the club president role.
With you taking over club responsibilities as club president, how have you been able to settle into the role?
Jason: It's been a bit crazy! The season is fast approaching and I'm still trying to get my head around the in's and outs of running a football club but it's very exciting. Plus we have an amazing committee! If it wasn't for them we as a club would not exist.
What pressures and challenges are you feeling going into this season for the club as a whole?
Jason: The biggest challenge is getting the women's competition up and running again. We had a strong competition in 2014 and unfortunately last year we couldn't get a season up and running, but this year with the help of Sarah MacArthur (women's coordinator/team mum) and in conjunction with the other clubs, hopefully we will have a strong women's comp in 2016. And of course leading the men's team to a 5th championship in a row and the juniors to their first championship win!!
The Senior Men's have only lost one game (first game against Firebirds) since the clubs birth in 2012. Over time there have been some standout players. Unfortunately anumber of these key players have confirmed they will not be returning this season due to injuries or changes in personal circumstances. Are you concerned how this may affect the team and the possible impact it may have on this record?
Jason: It's always hard losing experienced players especially when we are such a close, tight group, but I think the things we have learnt from those players and as a group over the past couple of seasons has put us in a strong position to continue that winning form.
Lastly, what clubs are you on the look out for to be the most challenging for Spears Men, Women and Juniors?
Jason: Of course the firebirds are a very strong club and our main rivals in both the men's and juniors. But I know a lot of clubs have been training early and hard to try and knock is off of the top spot. The women's competition will be fresh after the break last year, but I feel the diamonds are putting together a pretty strong squad so they will be tough to beat.
Article by Gee