Hawks' new coach faces tough 'rebuilding' season
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Gatton Hawk's is a family affair for Andrew Schmidt.
He's been with the club "all my life", starting when he was a kid playing juniors before he rose through the ranks into the senior competitions, and then coaching junior and senior teams.
His kids also played for the club and his wife has coached and held committee positions as well.
But this year Schmidt is taking on his biggest challenge yet - stepping in to coach the Hawk's A-grade team, and he knows he's got his work cut out for him.
"It's pretty well a rebuilding year," Schmidt said.
"We've lost a lot of players - just retirement and that."
But Schmidt has the pedigree to take on the challenge, having in recent years been at the helm of the club's Reserve grade and second division teams, winning multiple premierships and President's Cups.
With the kick-off of the season just a few weeks away, he was concentrating on strengthening the team and getting them working together as a unit.
"From last year's A-grade side I think we got about four (players) … so that's a big change," he said.
But the changing face of the top side also opens it up to a lot of growth.
"We lost a couple players a but we've got young players like Tyson White's come back … I think he's one of the best fullbacks running in the Toowoomba league," he said.
Schmidt knows he'll have his work cut out for him in the coming months but remains quietly confident - despite admitting the Toowoomba league was tough.
"I think we'll be strong, I think we're very competitive," he said.
"We've got a tough on straight up with Valley's here on the 22nd. (They) are the benchmark for the TRL every year.
"So that'll give us a bit of an indication of how we're going to go."