HELLO everyone, welcome to the eighth edition of Churchie’s Comment for the year in your favourite rugby league newspaper — The National.
Competitive football returns tonight with the Parramatta Eels and the Canterbury Bulldogs kicking off round one of the National Rugby League.
The SP Hunters have to wait until Sunday to kick off our season against the Souths Logan Magpies in Brisbane in round one off the Queensland Intrust Super Cup.
Last week provided us the opportunity to get away from football and recharge the batteries for the season ahead.
I enjoyed some downtime and got to spend time with my wife and family. It’s re-energised me so hopefully the players and staff got that same energy.
We named our round-one team on Tuesday with a number of new players in our squad of 21.
Today, we narrow that down to the travelling 18-man squad.
This will include at least a couple of players looking to make their SP Hunters debut.
I’m also making my coaching debut and while I’m excited that the moment will come with great pride, I’m more excited and proud of the players making their own debuts.
Looking across the whole squad, we have a total of 567 games experience at the Intrust Super Cup level.
Across the competition, that makes us one of, if not, the least experienced team in the Intrust Super Cup.
Looking at teams like premiers Burleigh Bears, Townsville Blackhawks and Redcliffe Dolphins, their experience at this level or higher is around 1,200-plus.
Basic statistics say that we are a year or two away with matching that experience with those teams.
We are certainly going to go through some challenges this season, we are aware that our performances last year need to be improved on.
As we continue to build our experience at this level, we should be able to build our level of performance.
I am not shying away from the fact that we need to be better, nor am I trying to find excuses.
I knew when I accepted the job that I had a lot of work to do and that turning around performances would take hard work and time.
A couple of things I know after 20 years as a carpenter is hard work and the need to have a strong foundation to build on.
I love the passion that all the fans of the SP Hunters have.
It’s a fan base is like no other and not only succeeds ISC clubs but would rival many NRL teams’ supporter base.
That has been vital to our success over the past six seasons.
Most fans are realistic and understand that our performances late last year are a long way off winning consistently.
We start our season under the understanding that we want to restore pride, not just for ourselves but for you — our partners and loyal fans.
Until next week, let’s respect and be kind to each other.
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