Club Preview: Nambucca Valley
The Lions are looking to be more competitive this season, with a new coach and a few new recruits.
This fends off any doubt about their continued existance in the competition. Success starts at the bottom and strong efforts by the AFL Development team have been made in Nambucca and Macksville schools with good success.
The Under 18s has been the clubs shining light in previous seasons. Last year they made the Preliminary Final and were more than competitive against the Swans. There is some good young talent that need exposure to first grade football.
The news seems to be the club will not run a Reserves side and focus on the Seniors and 18s.
Livewire forward, Ray McGrath will coach the Firsts this year, with Heath Addison maintained the role as 18s coach. Players like Ray is what the club needs. Dynamic, unpredictable and with plenty of skill, he was the main target in the forward line this year.
Daniel Linares will again be in the thick of the action down back. He doesn't have the size for a key position post but steps up to the mark and always gives a full-hearted contest. Jimmy Angel is someone who has struggled with injuries over the last couple of years. The club would like to see him back and back to full fitness.
The mature-aged youngsters will need to step up. Monty Schmidt has talent and is best as an inside midfielder. Karl Leplaa will be looked upon to hold a defensive post. James Boatfield looks set to be a key forward for the club.
Justin Saker is arguably the club's best young talent with the skill that the Lions need to use the ball effectively when they get their hands on it.
The club will miss Tom Haskew. Haskew has travelled south to university and was an U18 Heat Representative at the State Zone Trials in Coffs Harbour. The Lions due get full use out of the tall, agile ruckman due to long-term injuries.
He and Scott Beattie, who has cracked the big time in the VFL were good-news stories for the club over the off-season.
With the pool of players limited in previous years, depth has been an underlying issue for the club, more so recently. There are dedicated people on board and the competition will always benefit from having the Lions involved. Here's hope for a stronger year for the club in 2009.