Women's Sea Eagles set to soar
AFL: "Tough, determined and the best sports in the league,” is how Senior Women's Sea Eagles coach and vice president of the club Darren Jackson describes his team.
Women's AFL is back in the Whitsundays following its history-making inaugural season last year and they are on the lookout for more players to join the ranks.
On Tuesday night the encouraging calls from team mates, some of whom had only met each other half an hour before, could be heard across the Whitsunday Sports Park Oval as the women pushed through to finish a gruelling Indian file.
Coach Jackson said, despite finishing with the wooden spoon last season, the team kicked some milestone goals - both figuratively and literally - and will continue to aim high this year.
"We started with a mixed bunch, probably not the quickest girls or the most skilled and we worked through the year to achieve some pretty high goals like winning our first game, then going on and winning our second and third games,” he said.
"The goal for this season is to be competitive in the Mackay AFL league, build our fitness up and basically over run the opposition with our fitness and higher skill level.”
With 34 players on the books last year, coach Jackson would like to see more fresh faces join the Sea Eagles colours.
"I think the Whitsunday Sea Eagles is a great family atmosphere, it's great for young kids, it's challenging, it provides a fitness level and basically we are about achieving goals,” he said.
"It's a massive thing for the Whitsundays to have a landmark women's side, especially after the football club has struggled over the last four years bordering on not fielding men's teams to have a full fledged women's team is just awesome.”
Women from all walks of life make up the football side, showing age, experience and starting fitness level is no barrier for anyone interested in playing.
"We have quite a few newbies this season, you'll definitely not be left out if you head along to training and we will welcome you with open arms,” coach Jackson said.
The team is in pre-season training on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6pm at the Whitsunday Sports Park behind the Jubilee Pocket PCYC building.
When competition begins later in the year, among local home games the farthest the team will travel is to Mackay for away games.
Boasting an extensive AFL career in South Australia before moving to Airlie Beach and putting over 100 senior games for the Sea Eagles under his belt, Darren Jackson has coached Sunshine Coast teams to premierships in the past.
"I love coaching and I knew it was going to be a challenging role.
"Our goal is to make finals this year.”