TRIAL: Noosa Pirates lost both trial games at home against the Nambour Crushers on the weekend.
TRIAL: Noosa Pirates lost both trial games at home against the Nambour Crushers on the weekend.

Pirates optimistic for big season despite trial loss

LEAGUE: They may have lost both trial games at home to Nambour on the weekend, but the Noosa Pirates' coach has big ambitions for the 2020 season.

The Noosa Pirates U18s lost 22-18 to Nambour Crushers and the Division 1 boys were convincingly beaten 40-22 on Saturday night at home.

But Division 1 coach and club general manager Brett Winkler was not fazed by the trial results.

His focus was seeing how the players gelled together as a team.

"It was a good test for us," he said.

"We still have a few players in the Falcons squad and they didn't trial with us.

"It was good to see some of the good fringe players and clean the rust out," he said.

"See their wares and how they are going to go."

Winkler is confident the Pirates will go deep into finals footy in 2020.

The veteran, multiple premiership winning coach said to do that they would need strong depth through all grades.

"The epitome of a club is when you can see the guys coming through who can play well," he said.

"One of my goals this year is to see the reserve grade team stronger."

After two decades as a footy coach, Winkler said he was always just trying to do his best.

"You certainly learn more and grow more," he said.

"You become more mature and aware. "For me I know what it takes to win a premiership, but I also know what it takes to lose one.

"The game changes and develops so much, it is exciting to be moving with the game and seeing how it evolves and changes."

At this early stage in the season, Winkler was just as interested in finding out who the players were as people as he was in how well they played on the field.

"We want to build a strong positive culture within the club," he said. "Attitude and commitment to the club is important to us from a club perspective.

"We have certain standards around that.

"If certain players don't want to uphold those standards, well we are going to miss you."

He may be well past his prime footy playing days, but that doesn't stop the former Newcastle Knights player from contemplating dusting off the boots and throwing the jersey back on at the start of each season. "That's all you ever do, that never goes away," Winkler said.

"You probably think you were better than you actually were.

"These days I live vicariously through my players."

The newly appointed general manager of the Noosa Pirates Rugby League Club, Winkler is just as excited for what lies ahead off the field this season.

"This year we have merged the two clubs (juniors and seniors)," he said. "We are one club now.

"We have 21 junior teams and four senior teams."

Winkler was confident he could succeed in both roles.

"I am able to wear the two separate hats," Winkler said.

"Footy is the easy stuff," he said.

"In fact it is a welcome relief, running any business or organisation is pretty hard work."

With the restructuring and rebuilding already started, the Noosa Pirates Club is starting to see the positive results.

"There are a fair few cogs in the wheel," Winkler said.

"We have started strongly with good foundations.

"Things have been really promising. We have been really strongly supported by the rugby league community and the wider business community."

To get involved with the Noosa Pirates Club as a player or volunteer contact the club on 0429 456 482.


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