By JESS WEBSTER
New Redland coach Phil Carse is hoping a four-year drought of finals footy will only fuel the fire of his 2019 list.
The Bombers haven’t played finals since 2014, knocked out in week one to an Aspley side which went on to win the premiership against Sydney.
It was also the last time Carse, at the time the club’s games record holder, played his last match in the red and black before heading back to Victoria.
Now returning as head coach, Carse said his first priority is to bring the belief back to the club.
“It has been a lean couple of years for the boys, but I’m really hoping that period has made them really hungry for that success,” he told NEAFL TV.
“There is no doubt with the way they’ve gone about it this pre-season, the way they’ve trained – there’s been a lot of PB’s in our 2km and yoyo tests – I know the hunger is there, we’ve just got the hopefully see that translate (to on field success).
“The challenge will be – especially after coming off a season with only one win – is to keep them really positive and have the courage to take the game on and a bit of belief in themselves and the way they go about it.”
The Bombers have kept the majority of its core group, losing star forward Jackson Paine but recruiting some handy recruits from country Victoria and some emerging former Lions Academy members.
Carse said he is happy with how the list comes together, and is looking forward to seeing the younger players step up into second-tier football.
“I think after a season like last year you would see a lot of teams have a lot of changes, but we’ve managed to keep 28 of those players off the lost last year which has been fantastic,” he said.
“We’ve added a few guys from country Victoria and then a few progressing guys off the Lions Academy who we think are going to bring some enthusiasm and some spark to the side.
“We’re happy with the way the list sits. We’re probably a fairly small side, so were going to probably rely on our running game, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the boys can do.”
Redland’s next practice match test will come against Southport this Saturday – who is also their Round 1 opponent – followed by Brisbane next week.
Continual improvement is what Carse wants to see from the squad as they build towards a fresh start in 2019.
“Obviously Southport is going to be a huge challenge down there being the reigning premiers, but for us it’s about getting closer to that Round 1 side,” he said.
“We’ll keep reducing our numbers each week over these next two games and probably tinker not so much with the positions, but more so who we want to start the season with.”
Check out the full NEAFL practice match schedule here.
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