DAVE Henry has been entrusted with the job of repairing Hastings Valley Vikings’ broken hearts.
With daughter Michellie running around for the club’s female side the Helgas last season, it was the logical choice for Henry to take charge of the first grade side.
And he will do so with a team still recovering from a 36-35 grand final loss that has burned all off season.
With a background in rugby league, Henry admits he isn’t a traditional rugby union coach, but is looking forward to bringing some new ideas to the club.
“I had discussions and said if they wanted a traditional rugby coach I’m not the guy,” he said.
“You’ve got to be honest with yourself and with your players because if you’re a pretender people soon figure that out and then you’re no chance and you won’t achieve anything.
“I’ll bring a new or different way of looking at things to what the club has had before.”
You’ve got to be honest with yourself and with your players because if you’re a pretender people soon figure that out and then you’re no chance and you won’t achieve anything.2018 Hastings Valley Vikings coach Dave Henry
Henry said the players had made the journey into uncharted waters easy.
Former coaches Andrew Kable (2013, 2014 and 2015) and Mark Howard (2016 and 2017) have steered the club to five-straight grand finals.
“The players have taken everything on board, are willing to examine and look at change and are willing to change if there is a better, a different or another way of doing something,” he said.
“The players have been fantastic in all of this.
“Our senior players are a very motivated group of people and very knowledgeable about their game which makes it easy because if they weren’t able to embrace that change then there’s no point.
“It was just going to end in tears.”
The Vikings first hit-out of 2018 will be at the Crescent Head 7s this weekend and while Henry acknowledges it is a different format, the club still wants to win every game.
“People talk about it being a bit of fun and all the rest of it, but as a couple of the players said the other night – it’s only fun until the whistle goes and then it’s footy,” he said.
“They’ll be there competing and trying to win because this group of players and this club want to win everything – they expect to win, that’s the culture they’ve developed.”
They’ll be there competing and trying to win because this group of players and this club want to win everything – they expect to win, that’s the culture they’ve developed.Dave Henry
Henry said he was looking to see how players reacted on the field in the heat of battle.
“I’ll get a different insight, but what I’m looking for more than anything is the effort that players make,” he said.
“You want them in there whether they’re leading by 10 or trailing by 10 to have a dig and compete on every play.”
As the competition proper fast approaches, Henry said the players had a burning desire to rectify last season’s heartbreaking grand final loss.
“Last year has been at the front of their minds since grand final day,” he said.
“They’re disappointed for themselves and they’re disappointed for the way it ended. They’re disappointed and feel they have some things to rectify.
“They fully understand where their shortcomings were and they’re working really hard to address that.”
The Vikings kick off their 2018 premiership campaign at Oxley Oval on April 7 with a clash against Kempsey Cannonballs.