Norths player-coach Kerry Theuerkauf puts his team through their paces at training.
Norths player-coach Kerry Theuerkauf puts his team through their paces at training. David Nielsen

Norths on right path

THE quiet self-confidence when Kerry Theuerkauf speaks about his footy team is evidence enough that Norths will be a much better combination than last year.

A successful recruitment drive and the experience gained from his first year in charge mean the player-coach can take a much more relaxed approach heading into this season, compared with 12 months ago.

“Things are looking very positive,” Theuerkauf said.

“The club is looking a lot stronger than what it was last year.”

While the playing list is stronger, Theuerkauf is more confident in his role as coach, having learnt the hard way last season how trying it can be, especially when you are playing as well.

“I’ve got more of an idea and am better planned,” Theuerkauf said.

“We’ve got (former Norths A grade coach) Nobby O’Brien as assistant coach with Tony Bauer and myself. He’s a very experienced coach.”

Theuerkauf admitted he underestimated the difficulty of his role last season.

“It was very hard trying to train as well as give directions and be set up,” he said.

“Having Nobby on board takes a lot of pressure off me.

“A few senior players at the club also makes it easier.”

Theuerkauf has also altered his approach to pre-season training.

“I’ve tried to mix training up,” he said.

“Not so much long sessions and lots of running.

“I’ve kept it shorter and sharper.”

One challenge with a host of new players is getting them to gel together. However, Theuerkauf should have few problems, as most have played together previously.

Nathan Carney, Dale Robertson, Cody Fullarton, Steven West, Col Holcombe, Evan Sambrooks and Dean Weller are all former Queensland Cup or FOGS Cup players.

Most of them are Norths old boys back to enjoy their footy.

Robertson is looking forward to playing with his mates again.

“A lot of us have played together so we know each others’ games a bit,” he said.

The new old recruits bring experience, professionalism and quality to a team that struggled to match it with the big boys last season.

Just as importantly, they are motivated to succeed for the club.

“I was at the Jets for 10 years and had a couple of seasons with Norths in between (2005 and 2006 when they lost the grand final),” Robertson said.

“I want to take it one step further than last time.”

Robertson has been impressed with the Tigers’ approach, despite being restricted to training in a corner of Len Johnson Oval due to the flood damage at their Pelican Street home.

“It’s quite professional and it’s great having Nobby on board,” he said.

Robertson knows from experience that stepping back from FOGS Cup to club footy is not as easy as it sounds.

“It is quite difficult,” said the man known as Ozzie.

“You notice in the local league, training with C graders and under 18s, there is a big difference.

“But C graders learn heaps from training with us.

“But you do get frustrated.”

With Greg Brooks and Carney at the club, Robertson may not get to play in his preferred hooker position.

But he is excited about the type of game Norths are likely to adopt.

“We’ve got a mobile pack and I think we have a lot of speed, so the aim will be to go forward and get quick play the balls,” he said. “We’ve got a few big blokes so we can continue on from them.”

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