QUEANBEYAN captain/coach Blake Dean admits returning the club to the heights of its all-conquering 2011/12 campaign is likely to prove a bridge too far.
But the 26-year-old says Queanbeyan is well positioned to resume its status as ACT Cricket’s top dog after a season spent out of the trophies.
Dean was part of the Bluebags’ championship winning 2011/12 campaign that saw the club sweep the one-day, two-day, Twenty20 and SCG Cup titles.
Following that achievement, he – along with a host of the side’s best – left the club. And last season saw Queanbeyan fail to defend any of its four titles.
But having now returned to Queanbeyan after a season spent at Tuggeranong, Dean said the club appeared in good shape to return to the top of the premiership pecking order.
“Obviously it’ll be tough to achieve what we did in 2012 when we won everything but we’re definitely looking to get back up there,” he said.
“We’ve got a few of those players from 2012 like Mick Curtale and Dean Solway as well as myself coming back into the side so we’re shaping up reasonably strongly.
“The competition as a whole though is definitely shaping up to be a lot stronger compared to recent years.
“Last year you really had one or two clubs dominate where this season there are five or six clubs that have recruited well and who look like they’re going to be quite strong.”
Dean, meanwhile, said the opportunity to pursue his coaching ambitions, as well as the chance to play alongside his brother Jono Dean, had led him back across the border this season.
He joins Solway, Curtale and Newcastle quick Josh Bennett as one of the club’s four key off-season signings. As well as captaincy duties, Dean will take on a playing/coaching role with the side.
“Coaching has always appealed to me but it’s been about finding the right balance and knowing, as a player, when the time to step into that role is,” Dean said.
“I’m still looking to find my own path and I’ve still got my own goals in terms of playing but [coaching] is something I’d like to develop further.”
The Canberra Comets representative said he also maintains an ambition to take his game to the highest level.
And he said his brother’s success in securing a contract with the Adelaide Strikers for the upcoming Big Bash League proves the opportunities are there for those plying their trade in the ACT competition.
“It definitely gives other blokes a bit of inspiration to see guys like Jono…pick up a contract while playing in Canberra,” he said.