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globalrugbyleague - Sat, 19 Apr 2008 09:28:00 GMT
West Australian fans desperate for a taste of Rugby this weekend will need to turn up to Members Equity Stadium to watch the latest force taking Perth by storm known as the WA Reds.
Playing at home for the first time, one man keen to see the latest Jim Beam Cup franchise score win number two is Reds coach Chris Dever.
Josh King: Chris, you scored victory number 1 last weekend against Campbelltown. Did you think it was going to take this long to grab your first win in the Jim Beam Cup?
Chris Dever: We had three away games in a row and our goal was to win one or two of those. I thought we were a bit unlucky against Chester Hill in our first game. Against Erina, it was 6-2 at half-time and it was only the last six minutes of the game we fell away off a couple of penalties. At Campbelltown we were leading 16-6 at half-time but the boys decided to play their own style of footy and Campbelltown came back. It was just good to get a win in those three away games.
JK: What’s it been like trying to get crowd support over there for a Rugby League team that’s in a lower-grade competition?
CD: It’s been pretty good. We’ve had plenty of phone calls this week about trying to get tickets to the game. The following is here. There’s a lot of Rugby people here in Perth that’d be [into] Rugby Union or Rugby League. I think people are just screaming out for something different over here instead of watching AFL all the time.
JK: Is there a favouritism over there for one Rugby code over the other?
CD: Because the Western Force came in a couple of years before us, there’s a lot of people who have already signed up membership, but some of those memberships are starting to filter down to us as well. We should have a bit of a crowd on the weekend.
JK: What are you happier with after three rounds. The attack or defence?
CD: At the moment our attack is getting there and is slowly improving. Last week in the second half we gave away the ball a fair bit and we defended I think for five sets of six on our line and held them out, so I was really happy with the defence. Our attack is starting to improve but our defence at the moment is pretty solid. We’re not letting teams blow us away.
JK: Has there been a piece of play from the Reds that’s just been so outstanding, it’s stuck out in your mind?
CD: Not particularly. Our outside backs are pretty quick, so we’ve got plenty of speed there. At the moment that’d be our strength. Our forwards are starting to lay a pretty good platform for us. We knew that we weren’t a big side, so our fitness is one thing that’s helped us along. But once the outside backs get the ball in their hand, they’re pretty hard to get a hold of. I’d say our backs at the moment are our strike weapon but our forwards are starting to dominate the other teams with their go-forward.
JK: The WA Reds already have 64 fans (as this went to press) on their facebook group. Do the players ever check out the comments from the fans?
CD: (laughs). That’s news to me too. No, not really. We’re starting to get a fair bit of stuff in the paper over here. Some of the guys, they’re not really into reading stuff about themselves, they’re just concentrating on our performances each week. That’s news to me with that facebook thing.
JK: Injury-wise, how’s the team travelling and realistically how many injuries can you afford to have and still stay competitive?
CD: We lost Joel Rawlings whose is one of our major signings here from the Lakes United Club (Newcastle). He comes with high expectations and we lost him pretty cheaply with his first touch of the ball against the Sydney Bulls (ACL injury), so he’s out for the year. Other then that we’ve been travelling alright. If our local players went across, they’d probably get a start in the Jim Beam Cup side pretty easily At the moment we’re pretty unknown.We’ve got a lot of young guys here playing for us that can step up to that level, so I can push back to our local guys. If I get a couple of injuries maybe in the forwards, I might struggle a little bit.
JK: There’s talk former Western Force star Matt Henjak might go back to Rugby League. If none of the NRL clubs can fit him under the salary cap for this season, would you like him in your team?
CD: Take anyone probably. That was first thrown around when he got released from Rugby Union but I think he’s chasing a few dollars mate and that’s something we can’t afford at the moment.
JK: He’d certainly be good for your attack though.
CD: Certainly would. Add a little bit of colour with his hairstyle as well (laugh). Our local guys at the moment are showing a bit of flair but oh yeah, anyone with a bit of experience, we’d love to have anyone like that on board but you know I think he’s pretty settled in what he wants in life too.
JK: What’s a typical itinerary like for travelling to away games?
CD: We leave around lunch-time on the Friday, get into Sydney around 7-7:30pm and then we bus it too our motel. Then up on Saturday morning for breakfast at nine, training sessions around 10—10:30, and bit of a rehab with swim sessions around lunch-time and then the rest of the day they relax by themselves. It just depends what time in the afternoon on we’re playing on the Saturday and how we change things around too. - Read More, Here