Dane Jones has the job of revitalising Fitzroy Gracemere after taking over as the senior player/coach.
Dane Jones has the job of revitalising Fitzroy Gracemere after taking over as the senior player/coach.

New blood to coach Sharks

THE Fitzroy Gracemere Sharks have gained the services of newcomer Dane Jones to turn the fortunes of the club’s senior team around.

Jones has been appointed as the A-grade player/coach for the 2010 season, a testing position for a young coach as the club, by its own admission, under-achieved last year.

Club president Tony Wust admits the appointment is a gamble for the club and also for Jones as all parties know very little about each other.

“We appointed Dane knowing nothing about him apart from a one-page application,” he said.

“He also knows little about us, but we are hoping for a win-win situation.”

Wust said the new coach was invited to discuss his plans for the role and they liked what he said.

The club also made the decision to appoint Les Horstman to the position of Reserve grade coach.

“With two new coaches we are hoping to see a new era at the club,” Wust added.

While the A-grade and Reserve grade results have been poor, Wust said the club continued to thrive at the under-20 level.

“We are hoping to get the under-20s players coming through,” he added.

Jones agrees that retaining and then harnessing the young talent at the club is the key to success.

He is also aware that won’t happen overnight.

“I hope to work this season and next season at bringing the under-20s through,” he said.

Being just 25 years of age he believes will be a big advantage as the squad at the club comprises mainly young footballers.

Although he has been in town for just seven weeks, he is settling into the area and has already begun taking on the challenge with training sessions last Tuesday and Thursday at Saleyards Park.

“It has really been positive so far,” Jones said.

“I have the guys putting in the hard yards and numbers (turning up to sessions) have been solid.

“Hopefully when word gets out we are back training that will drag a few more along.”

Although the club is new to Jones, conversations with long-serving members have helped the new coach establish where he must start in his job of making the Sharks a competitive unit.

“I think from what I hear they need more discipline (in their game),” he admitted.

“We aim for mistake-free football.”

The coach said that was more important than trying to work out, at this stage, strategies he would use.

As a young coach, Jones lacks experience, but as a player he has ticked a few boxes in his playing career – even though he had a four-year break.

Jones said he spent time in the NSW second-tier competition and had also enjoyed a spell in the Jim Beam Cup competition.

The new coach is hoping to bring a couple of experienced New South Wales players to Rockhampton within the next few months.

He said two of his friends, one a five-eighth and the other a back rower, had expressed interest in moving up here to try out with Fitzroy Gracemere.

Training at Saleyards Park continues on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.



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