Redbacks stronger after last year's final heartbreak
FOOTBALL: The Gatton Redbacks came agonisingly close to a maiden premier grade crown last season, as a late West Wanderers goal denied them with four minutes left to play in the grand final.
But now after a positive start to his second season at the helm, premier men coach Jon Edwards believes the foundations have been laid for an even stronger push for the premiership this year.
They gained a measure of revenge for the loss in last season's decider with a 2-0 win over the Wanderers on Saturday and also dumped them out of the FFA Cup earlier in the season.
Although Gatton were also knocked out of the cup two weeks ago, their form in the league has been impressive so far.
The Redbacks have won four of their opening five games, losing once, and sit level at the top of the table with Willowburn.
But Edwards doesn't just want to bring the club their first premier grade trophy, he wants to do it in style and is committed to a fluid, possession-based game.
"This year we've cemented that style... we've had a year together together now and that foundation is now laid,” Edwards said.
"The boys understand how I want us to play, to be a pretty proactive football team that uses the ball well with lots of good movement off the ball.”
Although there have been six changes to the squad since last season, the new arrivals have adjusted well to their coach's philosophy on the pitch.
"A lot of them have played here before my time so that's been good because they know the players in the squad already,” he said.
"The good thing with that was a couple of those players liked that style of football and adjusted to it very quickly.”
The former Laidley coach has been happy with his side's progression so early into his reign but wants to achieve more after a first season that produced a grand final appearance and the 2016 SWQ Team of the Year award.
"To go one step further would be fantastic,” he said.
"Let's just make the finals first and it's a new ball game then, we'll see what happens from there.”
This time around the Redbacks a more complete unit according to their coach.
"They're a good team, they're not a team of individuals.. we're probably playing better as a team than last year.”