IF Simon Woolford was under any doubt as to the weight of expectation that will accompany him as coach of the Queanbeyan Blues, he need only reflect for a moment on the fortunes of his predecessor.
Having taken the club to a grand final appearance in his first year in charge in 2011, former Blues coach Adam Doyle guided the side to a second successive finals berth last season.
But even back-to-back finals appearances in his two years at the helm weren’t enough to spare Doyle from the axe.
Instead, it will be Woolford steering the Blues ship for the next two seasons as the storied club continues its quest to end what has become a four-year title drought.
And Blues secretary Tom Ebsworth said dealing with outsized expectations was simply part and parcel of everyday operations at the club.
“That’s just part of the territory with the Blues,” Ebsworth said. “We’re a high profile club in the competition, we needed an injection of new blood and we just needed a change in coach.
“Simon’s an ex-Raiders captain and having someone like him come in isn’t just good for the Blues, it’s good for the code in Canberra. He brings a bit of profile to the competition.”
Ebsworth and Woolford have previously worked together through their respective roles of manager and coach of the ACT representative side this year.
“He’s very professional in how he does things,” Ebsworth said of Woolford’s coaching style. “He’s not that long out of the game and he’s been helping out at the Raiders so he’s still got his finger on the pulse.”
Woolford’s signature was also expected to help attract top-quality playing talent and the move has already paid dividends. Fellow former Raiders Marc Herbert and Trevor Thurling have both agreed to terms with the club for next season.
“We’ve had people like [former Raiders player] Wayne Collins and [current Raiders under-20s assistant coach] Mick Mantelli in similar situations and they’ve brought players to the club,” Ebsworth said.
“We’ve got to be mindful of the [player] points system but we’re always on the look-out for players. “We’ve got a few blokes who are thinking about travelling next year and if they do I’m pretty sure Simon will attract quality players.”