Tathra Sea Eagles gathering strength in numbers

• Bayden Pilbeam scoops up the ball against the Merimbula Diggers. Pilbeam has been an exciting recruit for the Sea Eagles.

• Bayden Pilbeam scoops up the ball against the Merimbula Diggers. Pilbeam has been an exciting recruit for the Sea Eagles.

THE Tathra Sea Eagles Aussie rules club’s number woes aren’t over yet, but things are looking up. 

Bench manager for the senior squad Kevin May said the club had remained competitive despite having a “hole” in its player base. 

“We cleared a lot of players to Bega last year ... and a lot moved away for work, so we knew this is how it would be,” May said. 

However, quick thinking by the club and the league saw a rapid response of support from the community. 

“We’ve got a good committee in place and the SCAFL board is humming along nicely.

“Communication with the players has been excellent, it’s just as a club we turned around and said ‘where are all our players?’,” he said. 

May said the club’s concerns were almost behind them now, and the second half of the year will be much more competitive. 

“Jason Ainsworth, Jed Lambie and Cam will all be back in the next couple of weeks

“And Bruza [Luke Taylor] has missed a few, so we’ll have five or six back in for the second half.

“But we’ve been competitive and we would like to stay that way.”

The Sea Eagles aren’t relying on anyone to bail them out, May said. 

“We don’t expect any sympathy from the other clubs, because they’ve all been in the same situation.”

May said the club wasn’t quite prepared for the issues of not having a reserve side to call on and will focus on recruiting for next season. 

“We’ll have to have a real drive next year and recruit hard to remain competitive. 

“That’s one of things on the long journey that becomes the priority now, we didn’t realise by not nominating our reserves we’ve been caught out a little bit.

“We don’t have the players who can come up and have a run in the seniors,” he said. 

However, a positive for the club has been opportunities for new players that may not have existed without the shortage. 

“That is the opportunity being there for these kids.

“A good pick up for us this year is Josh Green and you throw in Bayden Pilbeam, he’s been a bright light.”

Meanwhile, some of the players who stepped up from reserves last year are also impressing. 

“Michael Parker and Matt O’Reilly have been playing and improving each week.

“When we come up against better teams they will be more prepared. 

“Our team just keeps getting better.”

The Sea Eagles will take on the Eden Whalers on Saturday in Eden. 

The Whalers last week scored their first senior win in about four years, but May said the Eagles are ready for the challenge.

“Saturday will be a stronger side than we’ve had in previous weeks, so it’s an opportunity to work on the skills and have a push towards the finals.”

Meanwhile, the SCAFL competition has been “hot and cold” though, making it hard to gauge the club’s level.

“We are in the mix and we’ll give it a really good shot, we’re not writing ourselves off just yet,” he said. 

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