Heat Confirm Three Key Re-Signings
Words: Michael Flynn
Pre-season conditioning will be key to FNQ Heat’s PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland title push according to Crios O’Hare – one of three re-signings for the club.
Heat coach Tim Campbell confirmed attacking utility O’Hare and midfielders Shaun Owens and Jamie Gosling will all return for the 2016 campaign – the coach’s first in charge of the Cairns-based club.
O’Hare, 29, says an intensive pre-season conditioning program means the trio, and all Heat players, will be ready to hit the ground running in 2016.
“I run my own strength and conditioning business and I have been doing sessions with the players in pre-season through November and December,” O’Hare explained.
“It’s a first time the club have got on board with a conditioning program and the players have responded very well to it.”
“After six weeks of conditioning training you can really notice the differences and it has helped the players in the areas they really needed help – leg strengthening and core strength is really important and that’s what we have worked on.”
O’Hare added that the new pre-season program was a reflection of the changes at board and management level at Heat throughout the second half of 2015.
“It’s a new approach the club is taking. It’s a lot more professional and they want to do things properly,” he said.
The return of O’Hare is seen as particularly crucial for the club following the departure of Heat’s all-time leading goal scorer Alex Smith, who is reportedly close to joining Malaysian second tier outfit Negeri Sembilan FA, coached by former Football Queensland Technical Director Gary Philips.
O’Hare said he is determined to add to his return of 18 PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland goals as the club seeks to challenge for honours this season after a disappointing 2015.
“Obviously you always want to score more goals and I didn’t have a problem when Alex was up there knocking them in and getting the headlines because it was better for the team.”
“Now that he is gone, someone else needs to step up and take up from where he left off. Whoever is in that ‘number 9’ position has to be as good as Alex or put in a shift as good as him.”
Key to scoring goals will be the delivery from midfield and the return of Gosling, 33, and Owens, 25, is set to restore a proven combination in the central third.
Gosling, who originally hails from England, boasts prior experience in the English lower tiers in addition to his 27 league appearances for the Heat.
Owens returns for his second season with the club and will look to consolidate on his 17 PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland appearances in 2015.