Wodonga Raiders' players ‘must lead the way’

Wodonga Raiders' outgoing coach Simon Bone.

Wodonga Raiders' outgoing coach Simon Bone.

OUTGOING Wodonga Raiders co-coach Simon Bone believes the Ovens and Murray club’s resurgence must be driven by the players.

Bone, who stepped down from the helm after Saturday’s 163-point mauling by Yarrawonga, said yesterday the Raiders couldn’t afford to rely on new mentor Daryn Cresswell bringing in a swag of recruits.

“Hopefully we can recruit eight to 10 players and this probably sounds critical, but it’s stating a fact that we need to get out of some average habits from a culture point of view in regards to things like training,” Bone said.

“We aren’t going to succeed if work isn’t put in.

“At the moment we don’t have enough blokes who are pushing the barrow to be better players.

“They train two nights a week and that’s what we did in the ‘80s.

“If you train twice a week these days you get left behind.

“Individuals can do a lot by themselves to make themselves and the club better.”

Cresswell will arrive on the Border after his coaching commitments with Palm Beach-Currumbin are complete, with the Lions to play Labrador in the qualifying final this weekend.

The former AFL star has already signed former Western Bulldogs player Brodie Moles.

Bone said the Raiders had been unfortunate with injuries and illness to key players such as Jydon Neagle, Luke Visser, Stu Williams, James Dickson and Steve Jolliffe taking its toll in the second half of the season.

“Unfortunately there is no real pressure for positions at the moment,” Bone said.

“The Tiges and Yarrawonga have plenty.

“Yarra have blokes like (Craig) Ednie, (Brad) O’Connor and (Tyler) Bonat who have to come in from the weekend and three blokes who played at the weekend will get dropped.

“They are playing for their lives each week.

“You need that happening.”

Bone returned to coaching this season after Wodonga Raiders and Ken Stevenson parted company last December.

The former Wodonga premiership star previously coached the Raiders as well as Kiewa-Sandy Creek.