New Virginia Rams Football Club A Grade coach Shaun Baker is ready to herald in a new mentality at the club.
Moving from Willaston in the Barossa, Light and Gawler Football Association (BLGFA) to take on the role, Baker has asked his players to focus on the game and improvement of their skills, and have fun.
He is keen to encourage the senior squad to lead by example and not let off field distractions drag them down.
With a few years of senior coaching under his belt, plus a stint as an U17 junior coach, Baker played most of his career in the BLGFA and is looking forward to the year ahead with new sides, different matchups and a goal of the players enjoying their footy week in, week out.
“As a club our goal is to make sure our players are enjoying footy,” he said.
“If they do that the culture will be in the right place.”
Having watched the grand final replay last year more than a few times, Baker says the club has recruited to strengthen its side.
“When I took the job, I watched the grand final about four times and we have recruited to help the previous side,” he said.
“We have had a couple guys come to the club, and (some) come back to the club, which are looking very good on the track.
“But training and games are different, so I’m looking forward to that unfolding.
“I don’t get caught up in the hype of recruits.
“I have a very good assistant that will take care of the opposition (and) we will take care of the club and players as they come.
“We have put a good list together and we will just see how that pans out.”
The senior squad hit the training track late last year, working on fitness over the summer with running sessions before training began in earnest mid-January where they’ve been focussing on game-simulated drills to help fast track the style of game they want to play.
New club president Chris Ewen is a 400-game veteran for the club and is also looking for a positive year for the club.
Ewen has coached for many years at Virginia, starting as a junior team coach when his kids were young and working up to Reserves in more recent years.
He has been vice president of the club for the past couple of years and says the culture is changing at the Rams.
“We’re looking forward to a positive year for the club,” he said.