Player grievances lead to new coach

HE’S been a premiership-winner with them and tonight Chris Hunt will begin his tenure as West Lions coach.

Hunt is taking over the coaching reigns after a dramatic 48 hours that saw coach Peter Cook stand aside.

It comes after players expressed some concerns about what was happening – or more precisely not happening, club officials said.

“On Friday I got some telephone calls from concerned players,” president Brian Tonks said.

He then spoke to secretary Brian Frost and the suggestion was made to the players they get a delegation together.

“We met with that delegation of players on Saturday,” Tonks said.

“The players indicated concerns with what was happening at training and the coaching.”

The crux of their concerns was that they weren’t doing much skill work or working on tactics or set plays.

That’s not an issue when training starts but at this stage of the season it is.

After discussing the grievances, Tonks and Frost asked Cook to meet them.

“We talked about it and decided we needed to go in a different direction,” Tonks said.

It’s not an ideal upheaval a month out from the competition kick-off but officials felt the situation needed to change.

“We felt those concerns would continue and probably fester and we needed to deal with it pretty quickly,” Tonks said.

They had had to pull out of a trial against the Maitland Pickers because of a lack of first grade players.

At this stage they’ve probably got about 15 first graders, but there are a few players standing in the wings that they’re hopeful might come on board with Hunt’s appointment.

“We expect that to be a positive to attract a lot of those fringe players,” Tonks said.

“Another six or seven (first grade players) would be great.”

Regardless he said, they would have three grade sides on the park, as well as a ladies league tag side.

They too are looking for a few more players with a core of about 10 or 12 at the moment.

Tonks said they were hopeful club stalwart Cook will still be involved in the club in some capacity.

The Lions will have their first hit-out on Saturday. They’ll host the Manilla Tigers with the ladies league tag kicking off at 6pm and the main game at 7pm.

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