Eagles are ready to fly into season 2023

By STEVE BALMFORTH
WITH the first roster game for SFL season 2023 being only days away at Boyer Oval on Good Friday, there has been a great deal of activity both on and off the field. While some clubs in the SFL and also at TSL level have been struggling to retain and recruit new players, the New Norfolk District Football Club is committed to fielding four teams in the forthcoming roster with Senior, Reserves, Colts and Women’s teams.

Although numbers at training have been lower than usual it has been heartening to see a number of past players providing support with coaching and mentoring the younger players. Club stalwart Hedley Thompson has taken on an assistant role to the Reserves coach Nigel Hay. Women’s coach Melinda Green has been successful in recruiting a number of new players and is hopeful that last season’s premiership win in Division 3, will carry through through as a formidable team now promoted into the Division 2 competition.

The Senior team under head coach Matthew Smith has used a back-to-basics approach with a focus on the skills and fitness of the younger players in the training squads, with good results being seen at training sessions. The leadership group are experienced players who have taken onfield roles under Matthew’s guidance and together with players promoted from last year’s Reserves team will form the foundations of this year’s Senior team. The Colts team under coach Tristan Triffitt has again been working hard, with a focus on focus on fitness, skills and discipline.

For all teams and players this year, there has been a major focus on some cultural changes and, importantly, on-field discipline. Over the past few years, the culture of “win at all costs” has resulted in some unfortunate behaviour creeping in to our club which has had a negative impact on other players and especially our loyal supporters.

The positive changes that have taken place within the club can be linked to the sponsorship support that has been forthcoming and we are pleased that Norske Skog, New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News, Kinetic and The Valley Sports Bar have come on board as our major diamond sponsors.

The New Norfolk Old Players Association has again been very supportive with its behind-the-scenes support and sponsorship to ensure the club starts the season with a stable financial position. As with all our sponsors, the club has an obligation to do the right thing to ensure that our relationships and support continues. Without this important financial and in-kind support, it would be almost impossible to field four teams each week.

Our first roster game on Good Friday against Claremont will be a good indicator of how successful the preparative work through the pre-season training has been. A practice match against Glenorchy last week involving the Colts, Reserves and Senior teams saw all players showing significant fitness improvement. Great teamwork was on show, particularly in regard to the encouragement and support shown to the younger players.

The club is working hard to increase membership and sponsorship, and to encourage past players and supporters to become involved again with all club activities. We look forward to a successful season, one that will establish solid foundations for the future.

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