CHFA. Following a hard-hitting preseason, Circular Head Football Association clubs are entering round one with a competitive attitude.
A change in leadership at all four clubs will set a high benchmark as Cameron Lockett steps in to lead the Forest Stanley Demons, Mat Walker guides the Irishtown Canaries, Jai Willmot takes on the Redpa Redlegs and Brent Burgess enters his fourth coaching term from five years at the Scotchtown Tigers.
“I expect this season to be as close as it’s ever been,” says Burgess ahead of the round one hit-out.
“Irishtown have been the most consistent team in Circular Head for a number of years and Forest Stanley have had sustained success in recent years on the back of great loyalty from Giants footballers returning to their local clubs.
“And one thing is for sure the Redpa football community will rally and once again they will be a competitive unit as they are a proud football club.”
Burgess said he expects a competitive effort all over the ground from his players and will work to see the side’s defensive unit strengthen.
After last season securing a third premiership title in as many years, Forest Stanley will look to continue their dominance under the leadership of Lockett.
“Round one should be interesting because we have a few that would be in our top 18 that are not [playing] this weekend,” he says.
“I’ve had some seconds players that have been training all season so I’ll give them the opportunity.”
Following strong off-season recruiting, the side now balances a mix of experience and young talent in both the Senior and Reserves sides allowing Lockett to call upon those who have worked for a place in the team.
Struggling to maintain numbers, Redpa coach Willmot says forming a cohesive and effective unit is a top priority alongside developing younger players.
“Our strengths we’ll be working on are our skills and speed,” he says, “as our biggest rival is all teams.”
Not a walk in the park, Walker has great expectations for Irishtown following strong midfield and forwardline recruitments.
“I’m hoping to see some improvements in what we’ve been working on during training this preseason, and putting into place what we’ve learnt,” he says.
As the association looks to a new era including an Under 17, Under 14 and Under 10 competition alongside the introduction of a 15 round roster, Burgess sums up the season ahead: “All in all we need Circular Head football to survive as it is what keeps the community together.”
The first round in the Circular Head Football Association roster will be played this Saturday (April 7) in Smithton between Scotchtown and Irishtown, and between Redpa and Forest Stanley at Redpa.