Applying the Heat on premiership drought

SOMERSET stalwart Leigh McInnes is the only coach to date to have taken the Heat to an NWBU senior men’s grand final appearance.
Nanjing Night Net

That was in 2003, against Devonport.

“I remember it was a massive crowd and Mark Banovic came out and shot 23 points in the first quarter and that killed us,” McInnes recalled.

“We prepared well and did everything right but just couldn’t get over the line.”

While the 400-game veteran is no longer playing, McInnes said it would delight him to see the Heat claim their first-ever NWBU men’s title in tonight’s grand final against Burnie.

“Even though I’m not playing, it would still mean a fair bit,” he said. “I coached a lot of those guys and played with a lot of them – it would be fantastic for the club.”

McInnes said he would be at Ulverstone tonight cheering the team on, along with several other former players.

Current club president Graham Hyland has been involved at Somerset since 1993 and was also involved in the 2003 grand final defeat as team manager. Hyland is also hopeful the Heat can come out on the winning side of the ledger this time around.

“I feel calm and collected, and I just hope these boys can go on with it,” he said.

“Dave [coach David Kay] and Josh [assistant Josh Salter] have been two great coaches, they really have – they’ve put in a lot of time and Dave has done a lot of travelling [from Smithton], averaging three times a week coming up here.”

Hyland, who was treasurer at the club for 19 years and has been president for the past two, said a premiership victory would mean a lot to him.

“It would put the icing on the cake for me because I’m not getting younger, I’m 74, and I’m probably the oldest by a good 10 years of anyone here.

“It would be very, very nice.”

Current player Damien Aherne said the team was “quietly confident” of breaking the club’s premiership drought.

“We’re really focused on getting out there, everyone fulfilling their role, giving 110 per cent and leaving nothing out there,” he said.

Somerset’s men are aiming for their first-ever premiership in the competition.400-game former player Leigh McInnes and long-time club president Graham Hyland will be cheering on current player Damien Aherne and the rest of his team. Picture; Stuart Wilson.

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