The way the Joondalup Giants’ 2018 season ended was truly heartbreaking. There’s no other way to put it.
The Giants were one play away from a second-consecutive finals campaign – needing to keep the Rockingham Sharks at bay for just one more tackle in their season finale.
It wasn’t to be for Joondalup, however, as Connor Hudson scored in a manic ending to the regular season at Rockingham Mazda Arena, and in doing so, ending the Giants’ season in the cruellest of ways.
That’s all in the past – and under the guidance of new coach, Gus Marshall, the Giants are out to put things right in 2019.
“That’s always the aim when you start out the year – you want to make the finals and be successful,” Marshall said.
“For us, we haven’t really spoken about what happened last year in terms of the results – it’s about building a culture where people want to play for Joondalup.”
With veteran forward Daniel Sneddon returning to captain the Giants this season, Marshall believes he has acquired a natural leader into his ranks.
“Daniel Sneddon is a great footballer,” Marshall said.
“I remember a few years ago when Joondalup finished fifth on the ladder, he scored 28 tries in a season so he’s definitely a talented footballer.
“Having someone with Daniel’s experience is just wonderful in how he leads and operates.”
Marshall also highlighted Davey Martin, Nathan Searle, Adam Smith and recent Reserve Grade call-up Beau White as players to watch out for this year.
“Beau’s played Reserve Grade the whole of last year and he’s come to pre-season looking in great shape – he’ll be a real leader by action,” the first-year coach said.
One of only two men to score 200 points in a single First Grade season this decade, Marshall sure knew his way around the football field, but 2019 will mark the Englishman’s first year in the coaching box – something prop forward Searle is looking forward to.
“This year’s a new year and a new coach, so hopefully we can be where we should be,” Searle said of his side’s final’s chances.
“Gus is a very smart footballer, which makes him a very smart coach.
“It’s been good with him and Caleb [Reedy] taking the reins – we’ve been doing a lot of different things.”
The Giants will look to get their season off to winning ways when they host the Willagee Bears at Admiral Reserve on Saturday before hitting the road to take on the North Beach Sea Eagles in Round 2.
Key additions: Daniel Sneddon
Key losses: Wananga Kingi, Fernando Ekeroma, Philip Tunupopo, Craig Richardson
Round 1 lineup:
1. Bryce McRobert, 2. Brenton Scott, 3. Dylan Davis, 4. Quinn Morgan, 5. Dayton Takuru, 6. Davey Martin, 7. Caleb Reedy, 8. Adam Smith, 9. Levi Mitchell, 10. Jeronia Raea, 11. Daniel Sneddon (c), 12. Keanu Te Tai, 13. Beau White, 14. Sam Maurangi, 15. Connor Favell, 16. Brandon Dargaville, 17. Steve Hanson
Coach – Gus Marshall