NEW HEIGHTS: Warwick Redbacks already looking to 2021 after a tough season. Picture: Jessica Paul
NEW HEIGHTS: Warwick Redbacks already looking to 2021 after a tough season. Picture: Jessica Paul

NEW BLOOD: Tough season renews calls for next stars

AUSSIE RULES: As one of the Warwick Redbacks’ toughest seasons in years draws to a close, advocates for the sport are desperately calling for the next generation of players to step up.

Taking another difficult 120-40 loss to Coolaroo last weekend, the Redbacks have only their Saturday’s home game to secure their spot in the finals series.

Dogged by the demands of the pandemic and numerous injuries throughout the season, coach Phil Cooney said he and his side were determined to take any positives they could from the season.

“It has been tough, but it’s tough for any coach out there when your team gets depleted, you can’t have everyone at training, and you’re struggling to organise a team on the park,” Cooney said.

“One joy we’ve had was when we played the top team Goondiwindi – we got off to a really ordinary start, but ended up outscoring them in the second half, which was a small win.

“We’ve recruited some new players and had others come out of the woodwork, so it might be a brighter start to next year.”

Even with a hopeful forecast, Cooney said the team’s struggles highlighted a serious need for the next generation of Warwick AFL stars to step forward.

“It’s hard to predict anything in the future, but juniors is where a club is, so we’ll be hoping to inspire some juniors for next year and kick off from there,” he said.

“Training programs aren’t working in the regional areas so much, where we need them, and it’s going to make it really hard for us to grow football here in Warwick.

“You need new blood coming through – we’ve tried a lot of things to inspire people, and hopefully next year it takes a turn for the better.”

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