The new Big River Hawks AFL U18 Women’s coach is confident he can take his team to the finals.
Despite all the training and effort last season the team only managed one win.
They will have to cruise through at least seven games over the next couple of months to claim some victory.
But if it is up to Katherine’s newest AFL coach, John Parker, the girls are sure to get there.
Mr Parker, an avid AFL player, moved from RAAF Base Williamtown at the beginning of the year to take up a logistics job at Tindal.
Unable to play anymore due to knee injuries, he took up coaching, “as a way to stay in the thrill of the game.”
In 2015 he had his first position as an assistant coach for the Newcastle City women’s team and before long he had moved up the rung to coach.
Before long he was coaching the best of the best in Newcastle, the Black Diamonds.
Keeping that position throughout 2017, he also held a coaching role with the AFL NSW ACT talent identification team.
“Very much the top end,” he said.
“AFL is something I grew up doing, it was something I had to be involved in. After my knee injury coaching was the next best thing.
“It’s just the love of the game.
“There is something about being out on the field with your best mates on a Saturday afternoon, nothing beats it,” he said.
To say he has some coaching experience is an understatement.
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The U18s Women’s team will be training twice per week with one game over the weekend.
“We have set a goal of making finals this year,” he said, “a massive step forward from last year.”
“We have had to break the game down and work on fundamentals as well as achieve a game style achievable for all players.
“You can never work too much on basic skills, we are focusing on building from fundamentals,” he said.
While the team needs to build up endurance as well, Mr Parker is more than confident he can get the team playing their best this season and make it to the finals.
“Feedback from opposition coaches is really positive right now, the team has definitely improved since last season,” he said.
Only a couple of weeks in, and things are going well. The team has attracted about 35 players, with about 20 turning up on a regular basis – a positive in Katherine where luring people into sport is difficult.
But Mr Parker is confident that number will spike and stay constant with the return of school.
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