Yeppoon Seagulls coach Steve Stafford and president Dave Hiscox discuss pre-season rugby league plans.
Yeppoon Seagulls coach Steve Stafford and president Dave Hiscox discuss pre-season rugby league plans. Nikita Watts

Stafford ready to lead Seagulls

THEY are big shoes to fill but lifetime Yeppoon Seagulls man Steve Stafford is confident he has been left with the solid groundwork to keep the reigning premiers on track.

Stafford took over from John Harbin, who is Capras head coach this year. He said he had spent enough time with Harbin to be able to keep the club moving on a similar path.

For the club, success is about the development of players from their own powerful junior base.

"I feel it will be a young side and I'm more than happy with that," he said. "I've been left a great base."

The coach said he had the backing of the club committee in wanting the Seagulls to be the team of the coastal community and the players to feel it was their club.

"It is about wanting to play football and wearing the jersey," he said.

It is little wonder Stafford has a lot of the philosophies carried by Harbin as he not only spent time with him as a coach but also during his playing days when Harbin was on the coaching staff with the Capras and Stafford was a squad member.

Some coaches like to take over all the duties with the team. However Stafford sees the coaching position is about having quality people around him.

Assisting him will be former players Bruce Campbell and Dennis Ogden while Scott Minto is set to play a role with the team.

"Scott brings with him a lot of experience, drills and skills," Stafford said. "He will also help our backline."

Another NRL star keen to assist, when possible, is Matt Sing who will also provide a lot of experience for the young players to gain from.

In his coaching role Stafford said he would be concentrating on players getting the basics right as this was important for players wanting to reach a higher level.

Without grasping the basics they would not be able to succeed, he said.

As a player Stafford gained a lot of experience with Yeppoon.

He was also a member of the Capras squad (including the 1991 team) and also overseas where he spent some time playing in Northern England.

The one thing he had, and still has, is passion for the game.

Consequently, he will not allow any of his players to cut corners.

"The training will be all about enjoyment," Stafford said. "Lots of hard work but fun."

As a former Capras player Stafford is right behind the concept and keen to help his young players push for positions in the Capras squad.

For Dave Hiscox, a Capras board member and president of the Seagulls, he sees the relationship between the Capras and the Seagulls, and all the other clubs in the Rockhampton competition, as strong.

He sees a parallel between the Capras' policies and the Seagulls' as being teams that are wishing to gain the full confidence of their communities.



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