Report: JEFF STEPHENSON
NEW Redland assistant-coach Jason Cotter has achieved just about everything there is to achieve in Queensland football.
That he is now helping to guide the fortunes of the Bombers in our quest for success in the North East AFL is a huge bonus and will be of immense help to another “newbie” in coach Phil Carse.
Jason will take on the role of assistant-coach in the box on game day, helping to set up strategically against each opposition and making sure the on-field positions are as spot-on as they can get, while Phil proffers his leadership on field as playing-coach.
It’s a big responsibility and one Jason is keenly awaiting.
The highly-credentialled six-time premiership player with Southport during the 1980s-90s has turned his playing success into a just as spectacular coaching career – three successive premierships with Southport from 1998-2000, another with Palm Beach-Currumbin, yet another with Broadbeach.
And we better not forget his 2013 season as coach of the incredible St Mary’s in the NTFL.
Things didn’t start too auspiciously with a first round loss, but it was all systems go from that point when the Green Machine ruled the competition thereafter winning the next 19 games including the grand final against the Tiwi Bombers by 31 points in front of an 11,000-strong crowd.
So, if it’s success we’re after, it looks like we’ve got the right man in our ranks to kick-start a resurgence next season after an ill-fated 2018, when not many things went right with injuries to key players at the most inopportune of times.
“We’re under no illusions as to the task ahead of us,” Jason said.
“What we’re after initially is gradual improvement. To improve together, all of us.
“And I can honestly say I’ve been nothing but impressed by the way the players are meeting the challenge already.
“You can sense they want to get in and do it together.
“After having been involved with coaching a few clubs you get to learn about the attitude and desire of the players.
“This group has got it.
“You can smell it – it’s there.”
Consistency will be an area Jason and the rest of the coaching staff will be working toward as a major part of the Bombers’ make-up.
“The NEAFL is a pretty good competition.
“We want to ensure we get the players playing well consistently and putting games together consistently as we strive for improvement.”
He’s already noted a huge plus with Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds, Soul Cormick and Clay Cameron back after injury and illness struck them in 2018.
“There’s three recruits straight away.”
Jason’s knowledge and game-day “know-how” will be big for the Bombers and it’s a sure bet he’ll work brilliantly in tandem with Phil and Stephen Wrigley in guiding the Bombers’ fortunes.
But, let’s go back and inspect the career of Jason Cotter and we’ll instantly recognise why he is regarded as one of the all-time greats of Queensland football.
He broke into senior ranks at Surfers Paradise in 1982 when he also represented the Gold Coast against PNG and switched to Southport for their entry to the QAFL in 1983.
Jason played 188 games and kicked 190 goals for the Sharks from 1983-94, winning the 1990 and ’93 Grogan Medals and finishing third in 1986 as well as winning the Sharks’ best and fairest in 1985 and ’90.
He was awarded Southport Life Membership in 1992, played 12 games for Queensland from 1986-93, including the 1988 Bi-Centennial Championships, the 1991 win against Victoria at the Gabba and the 1992 State of Origin clash against NSW and captained the Queensland State League against Tasmania in 1993.
Jason coached the State side when they defeated Tasmania in 2007 and was in charge the following year when beaten by Western Australia.
Not surprisingly, Jason was inducted into the AFLQ Hall of Fame in 2008 and was named in the Southport 1983-2008 Celebration Team to mark the club’s first 25 years in the State league.
It has been one incredible career.
With any luck, a goodly degree of hard work, some astute leadership and an affirmative response from a keen and re-vitalised playing group we can only hope the accolades and achievements will continue.
We know it won’t be easy – it’s never meant to be – but we’ll get a good taste of where we stand following our opening match next season against the defending premier – which, of course, just happens to be Southport.
We can’t say welcome back, Cotter!
But we can say: Welcome aboard, Jason.