THE dust has barely settled on the 2013 Blowes Clothing Cup season, but Orange Emus are already planning for next year.
The Orange club held a players’ meeting last Thursday night with around 40 players attending.
Emus’ first grade coach Andrew Logan said the idea was to talk about the season gone and work on how they can improve in 2014.
“We’re taking a more professional approach,” Logan said.
That started with Logan giving everyone who played first grade this year individual feedback.
They’re planning to make the most of the off-season, with the club’s gym being refitted with equipment.
It will be open to the players for five sessions a week and a strength and conditioning coach will give players individual programs.
“We’re going to have a proper off-season from mid-October to when we start our pre-season,” Logan explained.
“We’re aiming to get stronger because we’re not up with the top sides. You either do okay or fade out the back end, and we don’t want to do that.
“The equipment is there, the opportunity is there, so now it’s up to the players.”
Emus finished the first grade season at the bottom of the competition ladder on 26 points, with five wins from 16 games.
They were just eight competition points (two wins) outside the top five and the semi-finals.
After the regular season, Emus had recorded the fifth best points for (319), and had the fourth best points against (374).
“We were in the mix but didn’t convert those close games,” Logan said.
“We took heart from the fact we were close.”
The coach hopes having the gym available to the players in the off-season will help them next year.
“We’re just not strong enough in the first six to eight weeks,” he said.
“Teams like Orange City, Parkes and Cowra are game on from the first week. We took five or six weeks to warm up and by that stage we were already gone.
“We need to use those clubs as role models. Orange City might be our cross-town rivals, but you’ve got to admire their success.”
Players from this year’s first and second grade sides, as well as colts, attended the session, along with some under 17s players who will make the move up to colts in 2014.
Logan said the players were enthusiastic about the approach they were taking.
“I think the boys are up for it. I don’t think that challenge has been laid down to them before and I think they’re looking forward to it,” he said.
“Talk is cheap, we’ve got to work hard now.”