NEW coach Ben Kinkade believes Southern Beaches have the playing squad and the culture to be a force in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union.
His job is to help the club reach its potential.
Kinkade was this week appointed at the helm after Va Talaileva decided to stand down to focus purely on playing.
“The foundations are strong, and they are strong right through the club,” said Kinkade, who last coached University in 2014. “The culture is good and they just need some structures in place to help the club fulfill its potential. It’s a chance to work with them to try and achieve that.”
Beaches finished sixth in every grade last season. The majority of the squad, headed by Talaileva and the Delore brothers, will again provide the core.
“Next season is the club’s 25th year since its inception and it is going to be a pretty huge year for everyone involved,” first-grade front-rower and club president Hayden Gavin said.
Talaileva focused purely on coaching at the start of last season before returning to the playing ranks mid-campaign.
“Va wants to commit himself to playing the best footy he can and get back to the form he had when he was an Anderson Medal winner,” Gavin said. “He has always been a natural leader and will continue in that role.
“Ben has put a recruitment strategy together and we are working on bringing a few new faces to the club.
“The majority of the people who have been here will be here again. We have always been a club who has relied on passion and the underdog status brings people together.”
Beaches have also employed a new strength and condition coach Ben Larnar and Gavin said the plan was for the club to be the fittest in the competition.
“One of the things we identified at the end of last season was that we weren’t as fit as we needed to be,” Gavin said. “We lost a lot of games in the final 15 minutes. We were sixth in all three grades which reflected our preparation and performance. That is why we have brought in a strength and conditioning trainer and someone of Ben Kinkade’s experience.”