Benn to coach Ivanhoes
MERELY being competitive won't be enough to satisfy newly appointed Ivanhoes coach Alan Benn next season, with the Knights stalwart chasing nothing less than a Cairns District Rugby League finals appearance.Benn has a long association with the Knights, having debuted as a player in A Grade in 1979 before starting his coaching career in the junior ranks.
He guided the Smithfield club to the reserve grade premiership in 2009 and wants to the help the senior side ascend to the same heights.
"I've had a few years off and recharged my batteries and now I'm ready to contribute again," Benn said.
"I feel we've got the right team in place and we're ready to start going forward again."
Ivanhoes haven't won an A-Grade premiership since 1991, but Benn, who takes over as coach from Doug Chellingworth, said the Knights were capable of re-establishing themselves as a competition force in 2013.
"We'd consider it a disappointment if we didn't make finals next year," he said.
"We've been a bit starved of success. From a club perspective, we've identified what our deficiencies are and we're ready to tackle them head on.
"One thing I can promise you is that we'll be one of the fittest teams out there next year."
While he's still building his squad for next season, Benn hopes to have plenty of selection dilemmas.
"There are a lot of potential A Graders out there at other clubs," Benn said.
"We're not giving away A-Grade jerseys at Ivanhoes. Everyone is going to have to earn them. But if anyone thinks they're good enough, they're welcome to come and have a crack."
Benn, who will be assisted by Michael Starr, said Ivanhoes had locked in a pre-season trial match against Townsville side Centrals for early next year.
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Aiming high: New Ivanhoes coach Alan Benn is confident he can help steer his side to the district finals. Picture: MIKE WATT