Mostert steps up for BITS Saints
AFL: Newly appointed BITS Saints coach Jake Mostert is confident his team has what it takes to go one better in season 2018.
Mostert has been a long-time servant of the club and takes over from stalwart Alan Watkin, who coach the AFL Capricornia side last season.
The 28-year-old will take on an unfamiliar player/coach role after mentoring the club's under-17s for the past three years.
A physical education and maths teacher by day, Mostert wanted to make sure every equation added up before diving in to the deep end as A-grade coach.
"I didn't know whether other people would apply but I had a conversation with Andrew (McMahon) our president and spoke to my family about it,” he said.
"I'm always around the club and it wouldn't be any real extra effort on my behalf to be down there in an official role because I've had other official roles in the past.
"It's something I'm pretty excited about, I haven't coached seniors before so that will be a learning curve, but I'm feeling pretty confident about it going into the season.”
Mostert has organised a tight-knit group of staff to assist on the bench while he's out plying his trade on the turf.
"Being a player/coach is something which has its own challenges and I had to iron those creases out to see whether I could make that happen and get some people on board,” he said.
"I knew once I had those people in place I felt confident about applying.
"I wanted to have those roles filled in before I applied so spent the latter part of the off-season chatting to a few people to get those roles filled.”
Mostert usually plays on the half-back flank or back pocket, giving the defender a large scope to what's taking place on the field.
However, setting up a brains trust on the bench will help him better juggle the player/coach role.
"I've got two guys who are going to run the bench when I play so I can focus on playing,” Mostert said.
"If it's necessary I can make a change on the field, but I have faith in those guys to know our game plan, tactics, what we want to achieve and how we go about it.
"They'll implement that from their end so I can just focus on playing.
"I'll have my playing hat on during the quarters and between quarters put the coaching hat on.”
One of the main goals this season will be to go one better than last year, when the Saints fell at the final hurdle against the mighty Yeppoon Swans juggernaut.
The Swans blew the Saints out of the water during the first quarter of the 2017 decider and eventually chalked up a 71-point victory.
"They're definitely the benchmark and set a really high standard of football... over the last five years they've really put in a lot of hard work to get their club into tip-top shape and they are the dominant force,” Mostert said.
"Moving forward this year we need to have some discussion around how do we best combat that and what we think will work.
"We want to grow our knowledge base of the game, improving our structure, improving how we play and obviously fitness is going to be a key part of that.
"I'm not going to say we'll knock Yeppoon over in round two, but our team is going to commit to improving over the whole year.
"If we look at our grand final from last year, minus the first quarter, we pretty much went toe-to-toe with Yeppoon for a large section of the game.
"They did blow us out of the water in the first quarter, and they probably did hurt us in the back half of the last quarter, but for those two-and-a-half quarters in the middle I reckon we were on top of them or even with them.
"So we need to have a think about how we maintain that level of pressure for the whole game.
"Hopefully if we put in the hard yards and work together as a team there's no reason we can't be competitive at Yeppoon's level.”
Mostert said he'd be disappointed if his side didn't finish in the top two this year based on their performance last season.