Yeppoon Seagulls coach Scott Minto and fullback Jay Stafford at their lush home ground, Webb Park.
Yeppoon Seagulls coach Scott Minto and fullback Jay Stafford at their lush home ground, Webb Park. Matty Holdsworth

WATCH: Why Minto's Gulls are set to soar

RUGBY LEAGUE: Scott Minto discovered a lot about himself in 2016.

His introduction to coaching was supposed to be simple. Taking over from the premiership winning Yeppoon Seagulls of 2014 and '15, Minto half-anticipated a walk in the park.

What he got was hospital pass of reality.

 

As he endured one of the harshest injury tolls seen in A-grade league, he had to learn and learn quick. Yet the mighty Seagulls overcame that and came within one try of knocking off the eventual premiers Norths Chargers.

Ahead of his first pre-season as a coach, Minto is determined to make a difference on-field and off to his junior club.

"I think last year I came in with too much expectation and just wanted to win more than anything, but I realised that isn't why I am here," the honest Minto said.

"I think I grew in myself and just realised that I am here to help make the players better people and players.

"We will focus a bit more on the rehabilitation side of things and making sure we stretch after sessions. I do look back and see mistakes I made."

Even the best coaches in the game would have struggled with the amount of injuries to key personnel.

Jonathon Tavinor - gone, George Grant - gone, David Still - gone, Jeff Russell - gone, Dan Collins - gone, all vital players sidelined for lengthy periods.

But it was short term pain for long term gain for the Seagulls.

Fullback Jay Stafford missed a chunk of the season with a broken jaw, but he saw enough to go in with a positive light.

 

Rugby League, Yeppoon's Jay Stafford.
Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Rugby League, Yeppoon's Jay Stafford. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka ROK280516aleague2

"It was hard to watch all our players go down but it was kind of good in hindsight," he admitted. "The young blokes really stepped up, so in a sense it was good for them.

"I definitely think the club is headed in the right direction, we have won a few comps in the last three years but it is hard to keep the same squad together.

"So we were forced to re-build. Everyone gets given an opportunity under Scott. If you train well enough and show a glimpse of what they can do you might get a run.

"With u20s and reserves going well, everyone is pushing to play A-grade. We seem to be more like one club not three separate grades."

Minto, who rose to fame via the Brisbane Broncos, says the arrival of Kim Williams at the Capras has strengthened the relationship between A-grade and Q-Cup.

He commented it was an area that had been lamented for a while. Minto and his Seagulls brigade will line up against the Capras on February 12.

"The trail will probably be more beneficial to the Capras but it will definitely help lift our guys," he said.

"Give them a taste of the next level and show some of them its not too far off.

"A good shot for blokes who haven't really been seen yet.

"We haven't had a great deal of time together but are about to get stuck in. Really looking forward to ramping it up.

"It is all starting to click together and I am just excited. We will hit the ground running."

 

Yeppoon player Rhys McKenna in the rugby legue semi final between Yeppoon Seagulls and Biloela Panthers at Browne Park.   Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Yeppoon player Rhys McKenna in the rugby legue semi final between Yeppoon Seagulls and Biloela Panthers at Browne Park. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK210816cleague1

Despite being the crux of online memes and endless banter, Minto is dead serious about taking all he learnt as a player to coaching.

"I am still learning and last year I learnt about what I want to do this year. I am still green and it is exciting.

"It is different having the gear on and being able to bark orders as a player. As a coach you have to look at it differently.

"It is about seeing what the players see and helping them get to where they want to be."



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