New coach quietly confident in Raiders' chances for upcoming season

RUGBY UNION

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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READY: The Port Douglas Reef Raiders rugby union team is packing down early in preparation for the new season which starts in the first week of April. Dylan Leahy, Damien Friedrichs and Darcy Cotton formed the front row at last night's training session with coach Travis Gooch at the back. Image: Howard Salkow
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Port Douglas Reef Raiders rugby union coach, Travis Gooch, offers a wry smile when he predicts the team will reach the play-offs this season.

The affable former halfback, who hails from Gisborne, New Zealand, is aiming high after a number of dismal seasons for the once premier team.


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Gooch is acutely aware of the 2017 decision when multiple reasons forced the club to withdraw from FNQ Rugby’s Premier Grade and relegate themselves to the Reserves League. 

The past season generated few wins; and the team was challenged fielding 15 players on a regular basis.

“I am confident we can build from last year and considering there are only eight teams in the competition, I see no reason why we cannot make the play-offs,” he said.

The Raiders have begun their pre-season training and before the season starts in the first week of April, they’ll be playing in 10-a-side and 15-a-side tournaments towards the end of March.

“We are training Tuesday and Thursday at the sports complex and I am hoping, through word of mouth, we’ll get a few new players to add to the mix.

“Then there is the chance of overseas players who may be back-packing in the port and keen to play rugby.

We’ll continually be looking to recruit players,” said Gooch, who will be assuming his first year as coach.

Over the years, the Raiders have attracted players from Australia, United States, Mexico, France, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand.

The Raiders won the premiership in 2008 and 2014.

To get involved with the Raiders in the upcoming season check out the Club on Facebook

 

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