BATTLE: Wide Bay Buccaneer Steven Rankin.
BATTLE: Wide Bay Buccaneer Steven Rankin. Alistair Brightman

Duo's selections behind improved Buccs

FOOTBALL: Blake Walker has watched much more football than he would have liked.

The defender left United Warriors for an opportunity to play in the Football Queensland Premier League, but just when the Wide Bay Buccaneers started to show signs of life he went down with injury.

That was five weeks ago.

Walker has been on the bench ever since, a place he will stay until the start of next year.

It has sparked a hunger to return to the field, but has also given Wide Bay coach Adrian Elmes an extra set of eyes.

Elmes, the club's technical director, made full use of them last week when he entrusted Walker and captain Jacob Chapman with team selection.

"I went to Blake and Chappy to have a start of a starting XI they wanted to see. I named the formation and tactics, but gave them a go at personnel," Elmes said.

"We took Jacob Lynch out of being our striker, he's just not getting the ball enough. We tried to work at it at training but we still suck at it, getting the ball to his feet. Instead of trying to force the issue we moved him into a deeper role and he got much more ball."

Johnny Cullen slotted back to the defensive line and Chapman made his mark in the midfield, and Luke Smith had another crack at left back.

"We had some bad losses and Adrian wondered what he was doing wrong, so me and Jacob got together on Thursday night for a bit of a brainstorm and we want our most aggressive players in the middle of the park," Walker said.

A re-energised Buccaneers produced one of its better performances but still fell 3-0 to Mitchelton, the club's 20th loss in its inaugural FQPL season.

"I think he'll keep it, he might ask us to pick the side a bit more often. Me and Chappy have a few different ideas to him, and when you're losing games you can't really anything else wrong," Walker said.

"It's not about winning or losing, its comparing this round to the last round. When you compare it and you're doing worse, you're not going in the right direction."

The Buccaneers lost Ben Wilks to a hamstring strain, but the 3-0 loss still clearly frustrated the coach.

"There has been games we have gone away and said we can't get anything out of that game other than a sore head and a dint to the pride," Elmes said. "It was an okay result. I hate the fact we're having to say 3-0 is an acceptable result, but our juniors had some good results so it wasn't a bad day for the Buccaneers."

The Buccaneers hit the road again this week for a Saturday night clash with Eastern Suburbs, as the competition reaches its last four weeks.

Wide Bay will play their last remaining home games at Bundaberg's Martens Oval.



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