RUGBY LEAGUE: The Gatton Hawks' 2017 season came to an abrupt halt after they were knocked off their perch by Souths Tigers in a mid-week sixth spot play-off to narrowly miss out on a finals place.
With the appointment of serial winner Shaun Hobson as A-grade coach in 2018, the Hawks are determined they won't suffer the same fate next year and will soon be challenging for another premiership.
He led the Chinchilla Bulldogs to an undefeated premiership in 2010, won two titles with Gladstone Valleys in the past two years and has only missed two final series over the past 11 years at a number of different clubs.
Hobson believed the pieces for success were already in place at Gatton, it was just about joining them together.
"Most importantly I'm really keen for one-team towns and good small communities with good people and that's the sort of stuff you can build upon,” Hobson said.
"My goal is definitely just to come together as a group, enjoy ourselves more than anything and just continue to build on what the Gatton has already built because they're a successful organisation as it is.
"So it's just about coming in and marrying it all up and trying to have fun and be as successful as we can both on and off the field.”
As a country boy himself, Hobson felt he could get the best out of the young squad at his disposal.
"I'm led to believe a big majority of last year's playing group are still around which is fantastic,” he said.
"Young football players and certainly country boys have got a lot of heart and soul and really want to work hard.”
Josh Belz will return as U18 coach after he took on the role for the first time this year, all while pulling on the boots for the A-grade side.
"We've probably struggled over the last five to 10 years, our U18 sides won two games at the most throughout the year, and last year we were still in the hunt for finals right up until the last game so it was really good,” Belz said.
"I was really proud of them, there's 20 people in a team and I had consistently 24 or 25 blokes showing up, pushing each other for a jersey.”
He will only retain four players from the squad who played under him in his first year in the job but was encouraged by the interest for the new season.
"I've already had over 20 people say they're keen, for them to tell me that this early in the year it's a good sign,” he said.
Clifford Brown has taken over as Reserve Grade coach from club stalwart Andrew Schmidt.
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