Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Panthers Hungry for More Success: Lonie; Bright 2011 Season Looming

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Panthers Hungry for More Success: Lonie; Bright 2011 Season Looming

Article excerpt

Byline: Jamie gallagher jamie.gallagher@tweednews.com.au

PREMIER league whipping boys in 2008, David Lonie's appointment as player-coach at Pottsville Beach at the start of 2009 sparked the resurgence of the embattled football club.

Injured in July 2007, while contracted as an American football punter with the Green Bay Packers, Lonie returned to Australia with his wife Kristen and settled on the Tweed Coast.

Initially in talks with Gold Coast Premier League outfit Palm Beach, the 31-year-old was eventually swayed to join his brothers at the Panthers in the 2008 Football Far North Coast Premier League.

A forgettable wooden-spoon finish relegated Pottsville to First Division duty in 2009 and Lonie agreed to assume the coaching reins in a bid to restore the club to its former glory.

A stellar First Division campaign ensured the Panthers were undefeated in 2009, a feat that earned them promotion to the top tier.

"The 2008 season was very frustrating for me," Lonie said.

"I hate losing and really didn't want to see the club go down.

"I agreed to take on the coaching role after we were relegated and haven't looked back. We smashed the First Division in 2009 and went above most people's expectations again this year."

While many doubted Pottsville could mix it with the region's best, Lonie, team manager Jim Kolovos and club president Ian Charlton set about establishing level of professionalism at Koala Beach.

The introduction of strength and conditioning coordinator Rachel Sheldrick paid particular dividends towards the back end of the season, and together with improved training regimes and facilities, the Panthers rallied to finish the regular season in third.

Lonie was earlier this week recognised for his efforts with the 2010 FFNC coach of the year award and was also named in the association's team of the year. …

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