Eastern Suburbs 2016 Season Preview – With Darren Coleman

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Last year: 10th (27pts)

Ins: Zac Faumuina (New Zealand), Rowan Perry (Canberra Vikings), Tim Buchanan (Brisbane City), Phil Mathers (returning).


Out: Clay Brodie (Retired), Tyrone Viiga (Parramatta), Robbie Mate (Parramatta), Jerome McKenzie (Eastwood), James Graham (Manly).

Overview – With Darren Coleman

“I guess like every coach, you are always feeling pretty positive about your preseason at this point of the year. We’ve trained really hard. This is my fifth season as a Shute Shield coach and I’ve never worked a group as hard as we have this year. Although we may not have the star power of some of the other sides, I’m reasonably confident that come round one, we’ll be fit and we’ll be organised.”

“Last year was disappointing and we don’t want another year like it but I think the first grade result sort of overshadowed the efforts of the rest of the club. We had great depth and great numbers at training all last year and we’ve picked up some really good colts that will put the club in good stead in the years to come. In saying that, the first grade side needs to be performing and pushing for the playoffs this year.”

Improvements

“The big focus so far this year has been on our fitness. Our goal is to be the fittest team across the first half of the competition and get some early wins on the board. We’ve haven’t had a great deal of player turnover so everyone now understands the systems and our shape in attack, I think we’ve got 25 of the top 30 guys back this year so the goal for round one is to be the fittest and most organised side.”

Player to watch

“I think Alex Newsome will make an impact in first grade this year. He played a couple games of first grade last year but he was away for the majority of the year with different rep sides. He’s been training with the Waratahs sides for two years now so I think he’ll make a real impact for Easts this year.

“Rowan Perry is another one, he’ll have a big year. He’s been playing behind Pocock and Jared Butler down in Canberra so he is eager to show what he can do and I think he’ll be very strong for us this year.”

Hopes/expectations

“I want to see us move significantly up on the club championship ladder. The quality of our colts is really good and we have a lot more depth which will help our lower grades. For first grade, we want to be pushing for those playoffs, that has to be the goal.”