Bob will make squad try harder
Published 10 Jul 2012 11:10 0 Comments
GREENOCK Wanderers players reported back for pre-season training last week with a new coaching regime in charge.
Former player and coach Bob Adams has been appointed in the new role of director of rugby, which oversees all aspects of coaching and rugby delivery at the Fort Matilda club.
Adams' high-profile post has been specially created with a view to looking at the individual skill set of players and coaches - and to develop those areas going forward so that there is a unity of purpose throughout the club.
His first job was to find a replacement for outgoing senior coach Dave McVey, who held the position during a 14-year spell at Fort Matilda which coincided with the most successful period in Wanderers 140 year long history.
The men tasked with filling McVey's boots are Graham Finnie, Graham Knox and Ally Hunter - who are all former first team players and in Finnie and Knox's case, past captains of the club. Knox was also a highly-successful referee and officiated at international level in a fast-track career that took him all over Europe.
The trio formed a strong bond last season when they coached the Under-18 side and the Wanderers Colts exceeded expectation by rubbing shoulders with the best in Scotland - and doing themselves proud as a team while developing as individual players, who many expect to see in a first team shirt this season.
Bob said: "The new coaching team have a wealth of experience in the game and cut their teeth at age group level over the last couple of seasons and are ready to take on the biggest coaching challenge at the club.
"Graham Finnie will be head coach and Graham Knox and Ally Hunter will form an integral part of the back-up team and together they will take responsibility for 1st XV affairs this season. It is going to be a tough season and we are up against a lot of top clubs.
"Steven Haldane, Jimmy McKenna and John Meaney will coach the 2nd XV and Brian McMillan and Alan Murray will take charge of the Colts.
"It's an exciting and fresh coaching set-up and I am confident that we have laid a strong foundation for the club to progress this season."
Wanderers will compete in Scottish Championship League A this term and face their most difficult campaign in recent years. Owing to reconstruction, the locals are now in a ten-team league with sides that competed at a higher level over the last few years.
If the sides were seeded according to last season's finishing position, Wanderers would be ninth so the magnitude of the challenge is self-evident for all those of a Wanderers persuasion.
In the Scottish Cup, Wanderers have been drawn alongside Glasgow Hawks, Dumfries and Whitecraigs in the west regional league section and the home and away ties will be played in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
On the playing side, Ally Abernethy will take over from Matt Gray as captain with player-of-the-year Brendan McGroarty remaining as vice-captain.
Abernethy has been a first team regular for eight seasons and is a strong utility forward that can ply his trade equally impressively in the second row or back row. He will follow Matt Gray's example and lead from the front. McGroarty's value to the team is immeasurable and he will once more spearhead the attack in the Wanderers cause this season.
The locals playing squad remains pretty much intact from last term with a strong rumour circulating around the club that back row star Graham Mooney may not be departing the area on RAF duty as expected, but may be available until the turn of the year.
If this is confirmed then his inclusion in the squad is a massive boost for the club's fortunes.
Chairman of selectors and vice-president John McDougall said: "It has been a hectic close season with all the new appointments having to be organised but I am happy with the final outcome and am delighted to have Bob back on board in the new position of Director of Rugby. He will be more managerial and supervisory than hands-on and we are working on drawing up a five-year coaching plan which Bob will be heavily involved in.
"I'm also delighted with the appointment of the new 1st XV coaching team and although they have a hard act to follow after Dave McVey's retiral, I know that the entire club is behind Graham Finnie, Graham Knox and Ally Hunter to build on all Dave's great work.
"We have some great fixtures to look forward to with the likes of West of Scotland and Glasgow Hawks coming to Fort Matilda this season and I would put out a rallying call to our great support to get fully behind us again this term - as it is likely to be the toughest season we have faced for many years."
Wanderers will hold an internal club trial match on Saturday 28 July then host Glasgow High/Kelvinside FP at Fort Matilda a week later in a friendly.
The pre-season programme continues with two consecutive away matches against Hamilton and Garnock ahead of the first league game against Cartha Queens Park at Dumbreck on 25 August.
As always, the Tele will be with Wanderers every step of the way with previews and match reports. Wanderers are sponsored by Texas Instruments
This article appeared in Greenock Telegraph 10 Jul 12