Challenge awaits Diesels in opening round

KEY MAN: Diesels coach Jim Vatubuli has given extra responsibility to Matt Hands (left) ahead of Junee's opening round clash with Wagga Kangaroos on Sunday.
KEY MAN: Diesels coach Jim Vatubuli has given extra responsibility to Matt Hands (left) ahead of Junee's opening round clash with Wagga Kangaroos on Sunday.

Diesels coach Jim Vatubuli will be keeping an open mind during preparations for his side’s opening round clash with Wagga Kangaroos this weekend.

Holding the Junee reins seemed a far cry from Vatubuli’s Group Nine tenure with Wagga Brothers in 2017 but the Fijian is confident in turning the proud club around after a tumultuous month. 

“I won’t lie, it’s been very hectic since coming in,” he said.

“It’s tough coming into a new environment but I’ve been impressed in the limited time I’ve shared with the boys at training and there are plenty of positives.”

With no trial match to preside over and a mere week on the training paddock, Vatubuli will rely heavily on his support team and veteran players to shape the squad.

“It’s difficult because I really can’t comment much on individual players and what I want to see because I haven’t been able to watch these guys in the off-season,” he said.

“I know they’ve had a trial game and some good sessions but I’m going to take a back seat when it comes to selections for this weekend.

“Simon [Vanzanten] and those senior players like Matt Hands will definitely be shaping the team this week and that will allow me to focus on watching players and seeing how we perform.”

The void left by dismissed captain-coach Dane Nielsen will certainly be missed, however, Vatubuli plans to retain the on-field strategies developed by the former Origin player with his own brand of positive club culture.

“Dane certainly laid a platform for the boys and helped bring a strong roster, so we’ve got plenty to work with,” he said.

“What I hope to do is continue developing our culture.

“We’ve been getting a really great turnout at training and I think it’s good to see people excited about being at the club.”

Excitement is certainly building ahead of Sunday’s clash with the unpredictable Wagga Kangaroos and the Fijian will keep a close eye on his side’s stamina at McDonald’s Park.

”I’ll be watching the boys and seeing how much fuel they’ve got in the tank against Kangaroos. Then maybe I’ll look at changing things,” Vatabuli said.

Comments

Discuss "Challenge awaits Diesels in opening round"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.