QUEANBEYAN Tigers player/coach Kade Klemke says the side will need to rediscover its on-field desperation and off-field work ethic if it’s to return to premiership contention in 2013.
Last Friday Klemke was crowned Queanbeyan’s NEAFL best and fairest at the Tigers’ annual presentation dinner, outpolling runner up, midfielder Kaine Stevens by 10 votes.
The award was some consolation for Klemke after Queanbeyan narrowly missed out on finals footy this year.
“Team success is always a lot more enjoyable than picking up individual awards but obviously it’s a great honour to win something like this,” Klemke said.
“Especially at a club like Queanbeyan where there are so many good footballers. There were plenty of guys like Kaine and Steve Jolliffe who had a fantastic year so I thought I was a long shot to be honest.”
After storming from the bottom of the table in 2011 to claim the NEAFL Eastern Conference Premiership in 2012, the Tigers slipped back to finish sixth last season.
While the club was beset by a host of injuries that crippled its campaign, Klemke acknowledged the Tigers had also suffered a post premiership hang over.
“I don’t know if we worked as hard during the pre-season [last season] or if we did the amount work off the field during the year that we needed to,” Klemke said.
“Premierships don’t just happen. The year before [in 2012] we worked hard and we had that desperation. I don’t think that was as strong this year.
“That’s something we’re going to have to work on. Every player is going to have to be willing to do everything they need to on and off the field to get us back to where we want to be.”
The Tigers are set to return to pre-season training next month. And Klemke said he was confident last season’s disappointment would ensure there would be no such complacency heading into the club’s 2014 campaign.
“November seems pretty early to be getting back into it but there are a lot of guys who wanted to start even earlier,” he said.
“The boys were pretty disappointed to miss the finals so that’ll give a few guys the extra drive that we didn’t have this year.”
In good news for the club, Klemke said key players David Smith, Beau Walker and Josh Bryce would return to pre-season training at 100 per cent after all three missed a significant part of last through injury.