JAMIE Dowse knows what it takes to be a winner.
He steered the Port Macquarie Sharks’ under-18 side to grand final glory in 2018 and now hopes to do the same with their first grade squad when the 2019 Group 3 season kicks off in April.
Dowse will coach the defending premiers after Jake Hawkins departed to Wollongong.
The Sharks know they will have a target on their backs, but Dowse is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m excited, it’s like going back to your first day at school; the playing group are excited, we’re premiers so we’ve got to defend our title,” Dowse said.
“It’s hard enough winning one premiership, but it’s harder going back-to-back so I’ve got to get the playing group up to go back-to-back.
“Everyone’s out to get us and we’ve got to be prepared each week for that.”
One of the ways Dowse hopes to keep the Sharks at the top of the tree involves placing an importance on not only developing players, but selecting sides on form rather than reputation.
“You look at the lower grades, there are guys in reserve grade and under-18s that could play first grade so if they’re playing good football I’ll pick them,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to coaching players like Mitch Wilbow, Corey Murphy and Mitch Smith because I didn’t get the opportunity to do that last year.
“To get that experience to coach those guys and develop their game going forward would be the most important thing (this season) and I’m excited to do that.”
Honesty, accountability and a “one in, all in, one out, all out” philosophy both on and off the field could lay the foundation for the club’s success.
“I’m going to relay to the playing group that we’ve got to be honest with each other and have accountability and ownership on everything that we do, that’s important as a group,” Dowse said.
The former Norths Devils Queensland Cup chief executive agreed that at times the Sharks drifted in and out of matches last season and he wants to make them a more consistent outfit.
Their best was as good as anyone in the competition last season.
“We’ve got to be consistent and on the ball every game, we can’t drop the ball because sides are out to get us,” he said.
“We’ve got a job to do and hopefully we can do that.”
The Sharks returned to the training park on Tuesday with their first pre-season session of the year – and Dowse was impressed with the turnout.
He will hope more numbers return in coming weeks ahead of the season opener against Port City on April 6-7.
“That’s a good assignment to get first up – Breakers – at home, they’re probably going to be in the top three again so we’re looking forward to it,” he said.
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