‘Bucks’ the man to lead Gympie Devils in 2021 footy return
RUGBY LEAGUE: Gympie Devils senior coach Michael Buckley has committed to the club for Season 2021, and remains optimistic of on-field success despite a frustrating year which saw no competition at all.
- Devils welcome gun recruits as Season 2020 restart looms
- Young Gympie sport talents win funding for championships
- Betoota poke fun at Tino going ‘full Gympie’ in Origin brawl
- Tino to reignite schoolboy feud in State of Origin
“Bucks” was officially announced as the man to lead the Devils in their return to the competitive field next year, after COVID-19 put a line through Season 2020.
The former Sunshine Coast Falcons under-20s general said he wanted to make good on his multi-season commitment he made to the Devils upon becoming coach in late 2018.
“We missed out on this year, I made a commitment to coach for a couple of years so I’ve kept to my word, and we’ll see how we go,” Buckley said.
“They haven’t played football for 12 months, and we’ve lost some blokes that have had work commitments or moved away or something like that, other things have come into their lives.
“Most of us are in the same boat, the biggest challenge is getting players to come back after a year.”
The Devils appear to have tackled that challenge head-on, with a strong turnout at the club’s first pre-season training session this week.
Buckley said he was impressed by the early numbers.
“We had about 28 there and I was really happy with that. I thought it was a great turnout,” he said.
“We were probably one of the first to start back, we’ll probably do 12 sessions before Christmas to try and get some skills into them and get back into it early January.
“I think we’ll end up with some very good numbers next year. It’s really promising.”
The Devils have also been on the front foot with coaching announcements so far, with former under-18s coach Andrew Noy called up to be Buckley’s assistant next year.
2015 premiership winning player Wayne Marshall announced as reserve grade coach next year, alongside assistants Shaun and Paul Marshall.
Fellow premiership winner Ian Naylor will coach the under-18s, and former Gympie Mayor Mick Curran will take up the post of open women’s coach.
“That’s the best part about it. The Marshall brothers are premiership players, Ian Naylor has done a great job with the under-16s and now he’s come up to the 18s, Andrew Noy has come to me from the 18s,” Buckley said.
“We’ve got a good group of guys together. It’s a really good place for the club to be.”
The Devils’ pre-season program resumes at Jack Stokes Oval next week.