No premiership this year but the future’s bright for Redbacks

Ready to play. The Redbacks huddle for last minute advice from coach Tyhe Clarkson before Saturday's game.

By Tania Phillips

The Warwick Redbacks season came to an end one week earlier than they’d like despite an impressive second half performance in their AFL Q Darling Downs semi-final against University at Toowoomba on Saturday afternoon.

However, despite the 28-point loss, 11-7 (73) to 7-3 (45) coach Tyhe Clarkson said there was plenty of positives to come out of the game and the season.

“It was a close one, they just got out to a really good lead in that first quarter I think they kicked six goals to our two-one and then it was pretty well level pegging from then on,” he said of the game.

“We won the second half. They had just got out to a bit of a lead early. We had a lot of opportunities, a lot of shots, a lot of inside 50s in the first quarter but we just didn’t capitalize on them and let it come out a bit too easily.

“They transitioned really well with the football, in one side out the other and got up the ground pretty easily but we sorted that out. We had a chat quarter time and addressed what we needed to do – which was to stop that run and increase our work rate and the boys stuck too it and ended up winning that second half.”

He said they just couldn’t afford to give University the head start and it wasn’t helped by injuries to keyplayers.

“Our ruckman, who has been amazing all year, Carmelo Citrigno went down with an injury to his shoulder early in the first quarter as well which didn’t help,” Clarkson said.

“One of our other guys from Stanthorpe, Josh Read, who has also been in unreal form this year – especially late in the season, he injured his elbow just before half time – didn’t help.”

Clarkson said while it was disappointing to lose, the club was building for the future and their eye on more than just a one-off premiership.

“It was a very good season – it’s my first year coaching and it’s just great that all the boys listened and they wanted to learn and have the structure and go with it,” he said.

“They took on the gameplan that I had – I think it showed, we got to the preliminary final. People were writing us off pretty early, we lost a few games early in the season that could have gone either way but we stuck to our guns and we knew that if we played to the plan that could match it with anyone.”

He said it was a young team and the results from this first season were really promising.

“We started the season with some older guys – 28 plus and probably six or seven who were over 30 but throughout the season we picked up a few younger guys from around town,” Clarkson said.

“One of our guys – Connor Lloyd who won the Under Player of the Competition he was playing rep footy for the Toowoomba Crows so he brought a few of his mates to play for us as well when we were struggling for numbers. They’ve enjoyed themselves want to stick around as well so the future is looking pretty good.”

He said they haven’t had juniors since Covid but are looking to promote that and have reinstituted OzKick as well.

“Hopefully that will continue and we will get the juniors back on board – that leads to success for the club.”