After our final training session on Tuesday night the coaches had a look at the list of players available for the Haggis Cup and have selected strong sides going into the tournament.
With a few injuries to both the mens and womens sides the selections show the level of depth we have at the club. Speaking about the squads, Head Coach Stephen Connor had this to say “We are tremendously pleased with the level of enthusiasm everyone has show to this Tournament and for the year ahead, we all believe as a club we can achieve great things. The playing group as a whole came together just before preseason and decided that they would put in a lot of hard work to make sure they gave themselves the best possible chance of succeeding. We are looking forward to seeing how some of the structures and plans we have worked on over the winter come together in a competitive game environment and give us a chance to see what we need to work on before the start if the SARFL season at the end of the month. Coming away from the tournament injury free, seeing that everyone knows and understands how we want to play football and more importantly making sure everyone has enjoyed the day is my first goal, walking away with some silver ware would be great though that is secondary to me.”
Both Mens and Womens sides are listed below, make sure you get along to West of Scotland Rugby Club this Saturday 14th!
The Haggis Cup is the AFL Scotland pre-season cup tournament which attracts mens and womens teams from across the UK to compete in the one day style event.
The Sharks have been playing in the Tournament since its inception and will competing again in 2018. Being held at West of Scotland Rugby Club Milngavie on April 14th, the mens team will be using the tournament as final preparations for the SARFL season and the womens team will be looking to back up an impressive performance at the Leprechaun Cup last month.
Our men and women have been polishing their skills and preparing for the season coming in our CAFL competition and there have been some exciting games and great performances from some players who will no doubt be pushing for selection in the Haggis Cup. A few players featuring highly on the CAFL MVP Points table will surely give the coaches something to think about should they be available.
From the Womens team Caroline Sellar, Stacey Hughes and first year player Jennifer Treacey all stand out on the CAFL MVP Points table. The three competed and did a terrific job for the club while at the Leprechaun Cup and each bring their own unique talents and abilities to the team. Head Coach Stephen Connor had this to say – ” Our womens team have gone from strength to strength this year with some valuable additions to the side and some of our key players taking their game up a notch. Caroline Sellar and Stacey Hughes are helping shape our club in a positive manner, influencing club standards and continually improving themselves to show the way forward to other members of the playing group and Jennifer Treacey who comes from a Gaelic background has been terrific for the team, she really takes the game on and thats pleasing to see from a newer player.”
There are a couple of first year mens players that feature very highly on the CAFL MVP Points table and should they put their hands up for selection the coaches would be looking to try and fit them into the side, Joe Perry and Pat Cremin both came to the club at the end of 2017 and impressed early on with their fitness and natural ability. The newcomers paired with some established and improving talent at the club all give the coaches difficult choices coming up. Some of our well known Sharks having started the year well in Adam Jack, Derek Smith and John McIntyre all have scored well in their CAFL games Coach Stephen Connor spoke about the mens team “Joe and Pat are both a welcome addition to the team and since joining the club at the end of last season they have had a full pre-season to get to grips with the game, their CAFL performances have been great to see and they certainly deserve to feature so highly on the votes table. The other players you mention here have all fully bought into the clubs ethos set at an early stage in our pre-season, the whole playing group got together to discuss what they wanted to get out of the season ahead and how they were going to accomplish that. The standards set have been driven by a bunch of players but Adam Jack as club Captain has certainly been keen to make sure we capitalize on the playing groups mind set and professionalism. Derek Smith has held our clubs 5k time trial record for sometime now but has been constantly improving his time over the winter and has gotten it down to a very respectable time, Derek own self competitiveness is definitely helping drive some of the playing group to better themselves. John McIntyre has been putting a lot of effort into his own fitness, this coupled with keeping the whole playing group accountable to the team rules has certainly shown his leadership ability grow again this year.
Keep an eye out this week as our Haggis Cup squad selections will be announced.
Club captain Adam Jack recently formed his leadership group going forward for the club and already they are stamping their mark on the club and driving standards and building a structured culture.
In discussing the members of the group Jacko said this – “Its a pretty well-rounded group and one I think will help to shape the club in a positive direction. We all bring something else to the group – Competitive passion, Calm and Calculating, charisma, and in-depth knowledge of the game. I challenged them early to set standards while keeping things open to the whole group and I feel they have done that, making the playing group know there are penalties for being late to training and making sure when Stevie (the coach) is talking everyone is listening.”
Daniel Connor, James Hancock, John McIntyre and Adam Jack form the four-person leadership group and as said above have already put some rules/standards in place first of which was being late at training. Being late to training (missing the start of the warm up) will result in two laps of the full pitch being trained on (3 laps if you also didn’t notify anyone you would be late).
The group are looking forward to the year ahead and hope that continued driving forwards of these standards will help build a positive culture around the club.
The Sharks held a pre-season interclub friendly Saturday 18th of November at GHA Rugby Club.
The club tried out the new AFL-X rules in the game with an eye on fine tuning how the CAFL would function in 2018. AFL-X is a shortened format of Aussie Rules. Designed by the AFL as the way to play the game on Soccer and Rugby fields around the world (which are more accessible than the cricket pitches AFL is normally played on) the game is played with 7 players on the field (two defenders and two attackers must stay within each of the marked out 40 metre arcs before the central bounce) 3 players on the bench. There are two 40 metre arcs, around both goals, normal scoring is seen within the arcs though and goals scored from outside 40m arc are given 10 points instead of the normal 6. Quarters are 10 minutes long, the last person to touch the ball before it goes out of play has a free kick payed against them and kicks to team mates behind the kickers position does not incur a mark, instead play continues. After every goal and behind play starts from a kick in that must be taken from behind the goal line i.e. no goal square.
The interclub game was a fast, free flowing affair with a soft ground everyone tired quickly. Lots of new faces along mixed with experienced heads meant that there was plenty of opportunities to for our leaders to show how the game is played. Our more seasoned players took the lead during the game and helped to highlight just how much the AFL-X is focused on quick scoring, end to end football where turning the ball over is much more costly than ever. Though more impressively our newer players stole the limelight. Adapting to the sport very quickly and showing a willingness to take the game on was very encouraging. The game ended in a one point victory with the siren making the last kick of the game, though would have meant a draw, wasn’t counted.
After the game and discussing some aspects of play that suited and those didn’t the CAFL and it’s intention to improve players game understanding, knowledge and skills some of the rules will be adapted for the next outing.
Stephen Connor, Head Coach and umpire during the game said “The style and format of the game was really exciting, scoring was high and I definitely saw that people were encouraged to have a shot from 40m when presented with the option of 10 points and most had the ability to do so, this may help players feel more comfortable scoring from distance. All in all I think this was a great game to watch.”
The club is still looking for newer players and with another interclub game set during December and a few Tuesday trainings between now and then it’s a great time to get along and see what the sports all about. Make sure you let anyone interested know about how to contact us.