The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears are looking to build upon the success of last year with the 2019 season just four weeks away.
Preparations for the new season began back in November, with the bulk of last year’s squad returning for this year’s campaign.
The Bears finished the regular season in second place and advanced all the way to the preliminary final in what was a highly successful 2018.
Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan said that they will not be reinventing the wheel, but rather taking what made them successful last year and look to further develop and improve this season.
“We made some changes last year and this year I think is a year where we’re building further upon some of the foundations that we laid down last year,” he said.
“It’s basically the same group, which is a good thing. Blokes are really liking being at the club … you just need a bit of luck to keep everybody on the field.”
Those changes included an overhaul of the attacking style and structure of the Intrust Super Cup team.
The new system resulted in plenty of points being scored and Lenihan believes his side has the opportunity to not only replicate that success but build upon it.
“I think we can improve a lot on what we did last year,” he said.
“Compared to this time last year, we’re a lot further down the track. We felt like we probably struggled a little bit with the new structures last year, but we still finished second overall for points scored. If we can improve on that further, it will certainly be really helpful for us.”
A senior group of 53 A Grade and Intrust Super Cup players have been training together since before the Christmas break, with that group to stay together until after the trials this month.
New faces in the group include Tyrone Roberts-Davis, who has joined the Bears from the Gold Coast Titans on a fulltime basis, as well as the likes of Jordan Scott (Souths Logan Magpies), Jacob Hind (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Oliver Percy (Central Capras) and Jack Buchanan (Toronto Wolfpac).
Along with a host of local recruits, Lenihan said the new faces have fit in nicely at the club and have helped freshen up the playing up group while providing more depth.
“I think the biggest thing is getting to round one healthy,” Lenihan said of the remainder of the pre-season.
“It’s not a rush to try and do everything in Round 1; there is plenty of time to build into a season, but defence is something you probably want fairly close at the start of the year and then your attack can build as you go.
“Defence is about taking full responsibility across the whole field with what your role is. It’s not just the person who is making a tackle. Tackling is an individual thing, but defence is a team thing.
“Even though there might be one or two guys making a tackle, the whole team has got to move in a pattern around that to give our defence a bit more stability and give us a better chance of making those individual tackles.”
The Bears season starts with a Sunday afternoon clash with the Norths Devils at Albert Bishop Park on March 10.
Written by Kevin Brayshner