Saints set sights on season opener at Coolaroo
Australian Football: The South Burnett Saints were knocked out of the AFL Darling Downs finals by Coolaroo last season, but they will not have to wait long to get their shot at redemption.
With the release of a tentative AFLDD draw last week, all eyes fell on the opening round clash against their finals conquerors at Toowoomba's Gold Park.
Although the chance at redemption is a motivating factor, coach Paul Pressnell said the most important thing was for his team to give a good account of themselves ahead of the newly-minted, six-team division one competition.
"We'll give them a fair crack, but it's hard (to know how the Saints will go) because it's the first game of the year,” Pressnell said.
"Because (AFLDD) have split back into two divisions again every game is going to be hard, but it'll show us what we're up against for the rest of the year.”
Presnell's sentiments were echoed by player-president Daniel Clacy.
"It's basically where we finished last year, we're starting from that spot so it will give us a true indication of where both teams are at,” Clacy said.
"Pre-season can be good or bad for some teams.”
By all accounts the Saints' pre-season has been a productive one, with an emphasis on fitness highlighted by weekly Zuu sessions - a unique fitness program that utilises bodyweight exercises to maximum effect.
"There's quite a few people that have really embraced and loved Zuu, and I'm one of them,” Clacy said.
"We noticed through last year as the season progressed we lost a bit of general fitness. You concentrate on skills more than fitness (once the season starts) and it showed at the end when we played someone like Coolaroo who are an extremely young and fit team.”
Clacy said Zuu had also helped new faces at the club transition into the playing group.
"It's new for everybody, it's not like half the team has been doing it for years and the new blokes have to fit in around them,” Clacy said.
"They're not feeling like outsiders, it definitely helps the new guys fit in.”
The Saints are hoping a Friday night trial match against the Chinchilla Suns will help prepare them for the round one clash with Coolaroo.
"It's important to get some run in your legs,” Clacy said.
"It's not about winning or losing, it's an opportunity to play a game and see how the new blokes fit in to the team dynamic.”