By Mikayla van Loon
Montrose Football Club has held its first week of preseason training with new senior coach Gary Ayres, a first meeting of players and coach since the appointment was announced.
Community members, players and the club’s leadership all gathered at Montrose Recreation Reserve on Monday 8 November to welcome the new season and head coach.
“It was nice and positive, I must admit. And clearly, I would feel everyone has been, as best as we can put it, not able to do what we would normally do and it feels like it’s been a long time, since one season finished, and of course, the start of another one. So there was a positive vibe,” Mr Ayres said.
“From what I can gather, there were a few smiles, maybe not so much when we did the 2k time trial but I think, overall, it was just nice to have that banter.
“As far as we know, preseason training has started. So all in all, that was a pretty positive result.”
Unable to meet the players in person until this week, Ayres said it would take some time to get to know the team, their playing styles and getting them back into a football routine.
“I guess always the hardest thing is when you first come to a new organization is putting a name to a face.
“Once they understand me and I understand them, that will no doubt be better and I’m really looking forward to it. We can do a bit of consistent work between now and Christmas, which will be good. I’ve always felt that the greatest gains are made over your preseason.”
Aryes views preseason as the make or break of a team and said he would put together a decent program for the players in the lead up to Christmas to get them prepared for January and practice matches.
“Clearly, there’s going to be some things that I will bring to the table that are different from what’s been done before but that’s okay. I always feel that there are a little bit of teething type sessions where you’ve got to get to know the individuals and it’s a clean slate.”
Viewing football as a second job, Ayres said players will take some time to readjust and juggle commitments but the club will be as flexible as they can, while still dedicating enough time to training.
“I’ve always mentioned that, as of six o’clock or 5.30pm or whatever time you start, that’s I guess your second line of business, if you want to call it that.
“So we just need to adopt the same sort of philosophies or values to what you would if you’re employed or go into university.”
With the 100 years of Montrose Football Netball Club approaching, Ayres said the season ahead is a momentous year for the players, community and the coaches.
“It says a lot about how the club’s been able to survive and what it’s done over a period of time. And clearly, we’re in a position where 100 years is a pretty significant milestone in the history of the club.”