A Winning Crusade

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13th May 2011, 03:55pm - Views: 1446

WESTERN Crusaders president Scott Hayden considered last year's Gridiron Victoria season a travesty.

It was the first time in the club's history that it didn't make finals. For a club built on success, this was unacceptable.

Hayden, a defender who was a member of the Crusaders'1999/2009 team of the decade, said the return of long-time coach Glenn Parke (the team of the decade's quarterback), and the inclusion of exciting young recruits, will help the team regain that winning feeling.

We've made it our mission to not only to get back into finals, but we're quite confident of going far in finals as well, Hayden said.

Parke took a year off last year but has coached the side for many years, and is an Australian and Victorian player and coach. He also played for Illinois-based side Quad City Steamwheelers in the Arena Football League.

Hayden said the Footscray-based Crusaders received a lot of feedback through its recently formed website, and benefited, as all clubs did, from an ad that was aired on One HD.

One of the main challenges has been teaching the uninitiated about the game.

A lot of the guys we get don't have much experience in the game itself. So we've basically got to teach them everything. We've got to strip them back down to basics, how to stand, how to run properly, etcetera, etcetera.

And then the rules come along with it. We tell them why they need to block certain ways because of this rule and this rule. It is part of the training that we teach them all of that. We have to because it is such a technical sport.

They've done really well. We find rugby league players are the easiest to convert because it's very similar, but Aussie Rules players pick it up very quickly and basketball players pick it up pretty quickly.

Hayden said players to watch were Felipe Sanchez, Damien Griffin, Brent Weeks and Tom Chard in offence, and Steve Crawford, Chris Gatto, and brothers Reggie and R. J. Requal in defence.

Western Crusaders will take on Croydon Rangers at Ranger Field, Croydon, in the first round of the season on Saturday.

To find out more, go to www.westerncrusaders.com.au

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