3 December, 2021
Snakes welcome new coach
MITCH Buckett is keen to introduce a new culture to the Caboolture Snakes after being appointed as the club’s head coach for the 2022 Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League (SCGRL) season.
Buckett has taken the reins at a club which reached last season’s top-five before bowing out in week one of finals.
Born in Redcliffe, Buckett said Caboolture was his home club and where his heart lies.
He played juniors for the Snakes from under 7s to 16s and then played two years of under 18s before being signed by the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles to play Colts and State League.
Buckett had a brief taste of the National Rugby League (NRL) as an interchange player for South Sydney in February 2013. He came off the bench in a 38-12 win over Papua New Guinea, and scored a try in a 28-10 win over St George Illawarra in the Charity Shield after again coming off the bench.
Buckett played for Wynnum-Manly in the Queensland Cup before returning to play for Caboolture in 2018 and 2019, with the Snakes leading 10-0 in the 2019 grand final before going down 28-16 to local rival Stanley River.
Buckett had his first coaching stint in 2020 as he guided the Caboolture under 16s, who were often competitive but finished in the bottom half of the ladder.
The newly appointed first grade coach said he was nervous and excited about his new role, but mostly excited.
“My main goals have definitely got a lot to do with the culture of the club,” Buckett said.
“A lot of the experienced players are moving on or getting near the end, so it’s a good opportunity for the club to set a new culture and get the young players involved with that.
“Another goal is definitely to make the finals and improve on last season’s efforts.”
Buckett emphasised “young blood” at the club, saying: “Personally, I’m big on giving the younger kids a crack.
“When I was 17 and first played A Grade, it was a big thrill.”
Buckett said recruitment at the moment involved reaching out to a number of current and former players in the area.
“I definitely want a core group of young players,” he said.
Buckett said his predecessor Mark Carstens would still be involved in the background, while the new coach also wanted to work together with the lower grade coaches as part of uniting the club.
Buckett described Carstens as “the heart and soul” of the Caboolture Snakes.
Having been in only one grand final so far – the loss in 2019 – Buckett said: “Winning a grand final as a coach would be very rewarding, but there’s a long way to go before you can think about that.”