Coach Wright can't wait for game

WHILE he admits he is a “little bit nervous”, new Darling Downs representative head coach Jason Wright can’t wait to start putting together his team.

The Warwick veteran, who will still play with and help coach the Redbacks this year, has been selected to coach the representative side for the first time.

Redbacks operations manager Colin Pope has also been appointed team manager of the team, which will take on a representative side from the Northern Rivers/Summerlands league come May 22.

“I’m a little bit nervous because yeah, you want to start with a win,” Wright said.

“I’ve started to piece together a squad of about 40-45 players and that squad will get trimmed over the next month or so until we have a team of 25 we will take away.

“We’ve got to trim that pretty quickly; I want to have at least three training sessions with the final squad.”

Wright, who has played 187 games for Warwick and 210 in the Darling Downs league, said he considered making himself available as a player for the representative team.

“Initially I did want to make myself available as a player but when I looked at my age, and the young blokes coming through, I thought maybe taking on the coaching role is the next best thing,” he said.

He has played representative football for about seven seasons.

Pope said this was not the first time he had been chosen as the team manager.

He said at least three players from the Redbacks would be automatic selections in the initial squad of 40-45.

“(Redbacks captain) Brendan Iles will be an automatic selection and I think his vice captains Andrew Bardsley and Kurt Millard will also be automatic selections,” Pope said.

He said he was happy with Wright’s appointment as head coach.

“I think it’s great, I think it’s fantastic,” he said.

The Redbacks will play in their first game of the AFL Darling Downs season this Saturday at Slade Park.

Pope said the Redbacks would take on new team Highfields and would not be wise to underestimate them.

“I’ve seen them play, I went and had a sneak preview, and they’re a very fast and fit side,” he said.

The under-8, 10 and 12 Redbacks will play in the morning at Slade Park before the main game at 2pm.

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