Sport

New coach looking to develop Muddies

READY: The Gladstone Mudcrabs made a preliminary final last season and hope to be in the mix again.
READY: The Gladstone Mudcrabs made a preliminary final last season and hope to be in the mix again. Mike Richards GLA270816PAFL

AFL: The upcoming AFL Capricornia season will be new territory for Gladstone Mudcrabs with a new coach.

Under coach Mark Jensen, who formerly coached in Hobart, the Mudcrabs will no doubt be competitive but the coach isn't getting carried away.

"I don't have any expectations as far as positions go on the ladder," Jensen said.

"I think it will be more about developing younger players and existing players and I will be looking to make them become better players and getting them use to a more structured game style."

The Mudcrabs play the Panthers Sunday in a home game to kick off the season at 5pm at Clinton.

"Panthers are a bit of an unknown at this stage," Jensen said.

"I'm not sure how their numbers are going. I have heard they might be struggling for numbers but whether you can read much into that I'm not sure.

"I think whoever we play this year is going to be a tight contest so any game is going to be up for grabs.

"We have to make sure we have the best preparation possible and turn up to play otherwise any side can knock you over."

In his first season as coach of Muddies, Jensen is looking forward to the challenge.

"It's definitely a new challenge and the footy culture is a bit different than I was use to down in Tassie but it's an opportunity for myself to really develop players," he said.

"A lot of the guys I coached back in Tassie have grown up on footy but it's a great opportunity up here to develop players and hopefully get them into the game and getting them to enjoy the game. It will take a few weeks to get a feel.

"Once we've played everyone we'll get a feel of where we are at. I'm looking at the first five weeks of the season once we've played every side.

"I'll be giving guys an opportunity and formulate my best 22 towards the back end of the season."

Topics:  afl capricornia gladstone mudcrabs

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