Noosa warm up for title defence with Coastal clash


Eddie Franklin

New coach Matt Buckland is looking for the Noosa Dolphins to make a splash again in 2021

The Noosa Dolphins are looking to hit the ground running this season in the hope of defending their 2020 A-grade title.

The Dolphins will play in the inaugural Coastal Championship match at home this Saturday against Gold Coast’s first-grade premiers, Griffith Uni Colleges Knights.

New Noosa head coach Matt Buckland knows his new-look coaching staff and players are eager to see how they match up against the Gold Coast’s best team.

“They’ve got some highly credited players amongst their squad so they’re obviously going to be a strong side,” Buckland said.

“They’ll be at a hundred per cent which is a great test for us, and it will give us a chance to see where we’re at so early on in our season.

“We’ll be missing a few players but we’re going to be naming as close as we can to our strongest side from what we’ve seen throughout preseason.”

Buckland said the idea of the Coastal Championship was an incredible one and he was eager to see it continue for years to come.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” he said.

“There’s been loads of interest in it and I think any time that you can shine a light on rugby union it’s always a good thing.

“It’s going to be a game that brings the qualities of a final’s matchup both on and off the field so it’s great to be able to have that on show in the pre-season and on our home ground.”

The Dolphins squad has also welcomed in some big signings for the 2021 campaign in former Australian and Super Rugby star Rod Davies, along with ex-Australian schoolboys’ captain Harley Fox.

Buckland said the positive impact Davies has had on the squad so far was easily recognisable.

“Rod has been really good for the club since he’s arrived,” Buckland said.

“He’s gotten along really well with all the players through his input and his game-based knowledge.

“A huge positive is that he hasn’t come in as someone wanting to assert himself with the reputation he has, instead he sees himself on the same level as everyone else and does whatever is asked of him.”

Earlier this week the A-grade side also announced their new captain and vice-captain for the upcoming season in Nick Colvin and Will Christie.

Buckland said there were a few players with their names in the mix but some overriding factors gifted the two players the chance to lead their teammates.

“There were a lot of guys we had to pick from but for the two boys they’re both Noosa juniors, which is a huge tick in that box,” he said.

“They’ve been through the whole system of being in the club for a long time and they have the respect of the guys on and off the field so I would say they sort of chose themselves to a degree.”

Scrum-half Christie, 22, said it was a massive privilege to be vice-captain.

“To take on a leadership role is something that I really enjoy so it’s a real honour that I’ve been chosen,” Christie said.

“I’ve been at this club since I was 11 years old and I have always looked up to the older boys and those at this senior level.

“It takes me back a little bit because the club means so much to me and it’s good to give back to the club in a way.”

Christie said the team has shifted from the brand of footy they have been accustomed to in previous seasons and was excited to see it all in action this weekend.

“It’s a completely new game structure as opposed to the ones we’ve been doing over the last few years,” he said.

“We’re looking to play some expansive footy which is exciting and we’re all looking forward to seeing how we go against Griffith.”

The Coastal Championship against Knights will kick off at 3pm with reserve grade also taking on Griffith from 1.30pm.