Be patient, Sunshine Coast Falcons captain tells fans
RUGBY LEAGUE: Falcons captain Ryan Hansen has implored fans to rally behind the crisis-ridden Intrust Super Cup strugglers as they try to climb back from the lowest point in club history.
Within two days Sunshine Coast entered the record books with the longest losing streak in Queensland state league history and watched as the coach they hired to turn things around quit after 10 games.
Hansen said Falcons were on the right track despite coach Ivan Henjak's departure on Monday and urged for patience with the inexperienced playing squad.
"You've got these people who think just because Kawana's beating everybody by 50 they could play Queensland Cup," Hansen said.
"They'd be murdered. They'd get murdered in the FOGS Cup (Queensland Cup reserve grade)."
Hansen, who represented Australia as a junior and played youth for Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm, said outsiders underestimated how long it took to adapt to the pace of the Intrust Super Cup.
He said it took him more than 40 games to feel comfortable and the Falcons squad would be competitive by the end of the season.
"People are bagging our spine, but we've got Jay Lobrien in his fifth game at halfback, Brett Doherty playing probably his 10th game at five-eighth and we had Brad Reed at fullback and he had played two games," Hansen said.
"Then we moved Callum Klein five-eighth, to centre and now fullback. And we've got Matt Gilliman at hooker.
"These are all local guys and they are developing. They'll be the core of this team for a long time."
Hansen said everyone at the club was shocked by Saturday's report in a metropolitan newspaper that Canterbury Bulldogs had created an alliance with the Falcons and were going to sack Henjak.
He was replaced by Falcons' FOGS Colts coach Glenn Dreger.
"We couldn't believe it," Hansen said.
"Ivan went above and beyond what you've got to do as a coach. He was always at training early. He was doing his best with a young squad."
The 23-year-old said his squad was improving despite slumping to 29 consecutive losses.
"These boys are having a real red-hot crack," he said.
"They're Coast boys, not imports.
"They're not on NRL multi-million dollar deals and that's the best we've got on the Coast.
"To get beaten 22-12 by Mackay - Redcliffe got beaten 22-12 by Mackay and they've got help from the Broncos."