Setting up a coaching session are Gary Skinner, Bluebirds Capricorn League coach, and Dave Richards who is taking charge of the second division team.
Setting up a coaching session are Gary Skinner, Bluebirds Capricorn League coach, and Dave Richards who is taking charge of the second division team. ALLAN REINIKKA

Bluebirds set to fly high in 2010

NEW Bluebirds coach Gary Skinner admits his decision to take the club’s Capricorn League squad this season had not been a part of his plan.

The experienced Skinner, who has spent the last couple of year’s assisting at the Cougars, had decided he would help out Bluebirds stalwart Dave Richards in his role of second team coach.

“It was a bit of a late decision,” Skinner admitted.

Coaching the senior squad is not new for Skinner but now he has decided to take the position he admits he is looking forward to the challenge.

“It is a relatively young side with a handful of experienced players,” he reported.

“The challenge is to mould them into a team and with competition for places it makes them more hungry.”

During the last few years Bluebirds has been the local yardstick of clubs for developing young players and then feeding them into the senior system at the club or through to the Cougars.

“We seem to be good at producing quality young players but now we need to get some reward,” he said.

If ever a club required minimal motivation it is Bluebirds.

Over the past few seasons it has put in solid performances through the league program without collecting the Wesley Hall Cup.

Skinner believes last year’s 7-1 loss in the final will provide motivation for players.

“They (Clinton) are a good side and deserved a win,” Skinner conceded, but added the Bluebirds boys feel they let themselves down and now have unfinished business to address.

While providing players to the Cougars, the club’s also happy to welcome players back who no longer wish to compete at that level.

Gerard Kelly and Alex Trovato are two who are returning for the 2010 season and Skinner believes they will give the team what it needs to become a champion side.

Not that he will use Kelly as his goalkeeper.

“I’ve yet to discuss with Gerard what his plans are to be but I expect he will want to play on the field,” Skinner said.

The coach knows that while Kelly proved himself to be one of the best young goalkeepers in Queensland he is also a highly talented footballer on the park.

“He doesn’t let defenders get through a game lightly,” Skinner joked.

Goals were difficult to come by for Bluebirds last year but returning to the club is Michael Hansen.

The speedy striker started last season well with Clinton until injury forced him out. This year he has returned to Rockhampton and the Bluebirds club and to the successful partnership with Kelly which the pair had enjoyed in 2007.

Otherwise Skinner is not looking for wholesale changes.

Bradd Dillon, one of the senior members of the squad, is unlikely to be used in the marauding midfield role he has played over the past few seasons.

“Bradd is an elder statesman and I will expect him to take control at the back,” the coach said.

Skinner expects Dillon’s communication skills to benefit younger players.

“He’ll be a big plus,” he added.

The coach also anticipates another big season from midfield dynamo Aaron Kelly. “I’ll be looking for him to push forward a bit,” he said.

“He had a good season (2009) and has become a good quality player, he just needs to take the side by the scruff of the neck.”

While expecting Bluebirds to do well, Skinner knows it won’t be easy with Clinton again a danger, while Capricorn Coast, Berserker and Nerimbera should also be in the mix. Bluebirds are well served in the second division where the experienced Dave Richards takes over the role again.



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