Wynnum Manly overcame a disrupted pre-season campaign to soar to a strong 36-16 victory over the Falcons in Round 2 of the Hastings Deering Colts at BMD Kougari Oval last Sunday.
Mother nature has wreaked havoc on the Seagulls during the past month with the side unable to train on a full-sized field or play trial games since mid-February due to rain causing the closure of their main field.
In addition, their first-round clash against Northern Pride was forced to be postponed to Round 9 due to torrential rain lashing North Queensland – leaving the Seagulls without a game of football for more than a month.
Coach Joe O’Callaghan admitted he was unsure as to how his side would react to their disrupted preparation, but was pleased with his side’s ability to produce such a clinical opening stanza that saw them post 18 unanswered points.
“I didn’t actually know whether we were going to hit the ground running, so that’s probably one really satisfying thing for me, that the boys were able to start so well, because there was plenty of excuses the boys could have used,” he said.
With a lack of football, match fitness was always going to be an issue, but O’Callaghan credited his side’s bench forwards for their impact and highlighted their ability to maintain the momentum and secure the result in the second half.
“I thought our bench was really good, especially Zane Wallace and Sam Ballinger, and they brought good energy and that’s what got us through the game,” O’Callaghan said.
After a disappointing 2017 season that saw them go from defending premiers to wooden spooners, Wynnum Manly felt the need to overhaul their roster heading into the first year of the Hastings Deering Colts competition.
This saw only seven players remain from last year’s squad and O’Callaghan believes the clean out was necessary to address the weaknesses that arose during last year’s campaign.
“We got on the front foot and went out and watched as much footy and footage as we can and made a few phone calls and we put a fair bit of effort into getting what we lacked in our squad last year,” he said.
Their opponents this week, the Redcliffe Dolphins, are coming off an unlucky start to the season and will be looking to open their account when they reignite the fierce bayside rivalry that has existed for decades.
O’Callaghan is well aware of the rivalry between the two clubs and has been busy educating his side on the importance of this weekend’s game.
“I’ve only been around the club for 12 months, but I understand the rivalry between the two clubs and my job this week is to try and get them to understand the history behind it and how big of a grudge match it is.”