Full Speed ahead for Axemen
ORARA Valley is displaying plenty of stability ahead of the 2018 Group 2 season with Col Speed returning as the club's first grade coach.
The Axemen have moved their focus quickly on to 2018 after Speed and the rest of the coaching appointments were announced at the club's presentation night.
Tom Williams will be the reserve grade coach while the young Axemen playing in the under-18s will have Michael meadows Snr calling the shots from the sideline.
Brad Madden is the Women's League Tag coach and in a bid to recognise the importance of sustained development within the club's junior ranks, Anthony Davey has been appointed as the under-16s coach.
A number of current first grade players are also putting their hands up to coach junior Tomahawks teams.
After a slow start in 2017 the young Axemen squad, made up predominantly of developing players who only recently progressed from the junior ranks, found their groove late in the season to almost pinch a spot in the semi finals.
Speed said the same young locals who carried the team's fortunes this year will be prominent again in 2018.
"All of the local boys are all going to return and we're going to add on to that as well," Speed said.
"With 12 months under their belt, that progression will go into next year so that will be good."
Pre-season training at Coramba will start at the end of November where Speed said the players will be "assessed in regards to their fitness level and their body shape" before a Christmas/New Year break and starting up again in January.
Speed said last summer's limited pre-season won't be repeated and that he's already eyeing off some quality recruits to help improve the Axemen's chances of returning to the semis.
"We've got to recruit a lot more depth and quality within that depth," he said.
"The other thing basically is discipline, the boys being accountable and being more professional in actually being fit and raring to go at the start of the season."