New Manunda coach to play it hard

Another fresh face will begin his senior coaching career in AFL Cairns this season, but he has the luxury of experience overseeing things in the background. Bunbury product Clinton Gribble has answered the 11th-hour call from defending champions Manunda.

The on-baller will be the Hawks new player-coach, with veteran Gabby Weetra signing off as his assistant this week. Gribble joins Matt Cunningham (Centrals), Nick Braybon and Brenton Powell (Saints) and Kane Richter (Norths) as player-coaches for the 2012 season.

The laid-back Gribble and club president Richard Martin joked it could be a case of good cop, bad cop with the coaching pair.

"No one’s going to argue with big Gabby are they?" Martin said of club legend Weetra.

But on a serious note, the president said by no means were they expecting to stroll to another premiership.

"To be honest, we’ll be happy to win two of our first six games," he said. "Our expectations aren’t too high."

Having arrived in Cairns with his girlfriend and two pet dogs, Gribble will set about getting to know his team. It should not be too hard a task though. He is already mates with Hawks’ ruckman Luke Powell.

"I like the camaraderie of footy, the mates and the rivalry," he said. "And I like getting in there and playing hard, winning that tough possession."

The 26-year-old comes with big wraps, having won the Western Australian Amateur Football League best and fairest with club side Mt Lawley last season. He said he would use his playing experience in Perth to his advantage.

"I’ll take what I learnt playing under certain coaches – adapt that to my coaching," he said.

And he has promised to lead by example, which may be necessary given the loss of some serious Hawks talent. Jermaine Wardle (Labrador) and Ryan Booth (Busselton) have both left the club in the off-season.

Wardle was one of the stand-out juniors in the competition last season, while Booth won the golden boot with 79 majors.

"They’ll both be a big loss,’’ Martin said. ”But we’ve got some guys coming and on top of that we are committed to playing as many juniors as we can. If we think they’re up to it, we’ll play them."


Courtesy of The Cairns Post.


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