‘Scooby’ on the case to keep Sapphires flying high
DURING nearly three decades serving indoor sport, David "Scooby'' Eustace has established a fine reputation as a coach.
However, it's not only how he gets on with his players that makes Eustace a popular member of the successful Goodna Sapphires franchise.
He backs up his keen sporting interest eager by helping an accomplished group of players continue to get better each year in the Queensland Premier League (QPL) netball competition.
"Most of these girls have played together for what feels like a lifetime,'' Eustace said in his fourth year working with the well-drilled side.
"I feel netball is more than just fancy drills and high intensity. Finding players that fit together and work as one can take years to develop but definitely is the recipe for success.''
That has been highlighted in the Sapphires winning their first two SEQ Cup grand finals before finishing runners-up last year.
The Goodna combination has also been powerhouse performers in state competitions.
Preparing for the unbeaten Goodna's next game against Western Districts on Thursday night, the Sapphires mentor shares a mutual respect with his experienced players.
"If you asked me to describe them in one word I would say passionate,'' Eustace said.
"They all live and breathe netball which makes each week enjoyable and a ton of laughs.''
That's where he coaching formula works best.
"I like to keep things simple and play basic netball,'' he said.
"The girls go out each week knowing that they just need to play their natural game and I work on tweaking little things throughout the game based on our opposition.''
Eustace said his team was tracking well given how the coronavirus had hindered the regular season.
But after the latest "rocky performance'' in beating Carina 60-23, Eustace is taking nothing for granted.
"I certainly don't put any pressure on them being undefeated,'' the Sapphires coach said.
"The girls are that experienced. They know what they need to do to perform at their best each week. Don't they say it's always good to have a loss.''
Eustace was happy to coach the girls when asked in the inaugural 2017 QPL season.
"I took this coaching job on as I've known this group of girls for many years and they were wanting a new challenge,'' he said.
"Goodna Sapphires were amazing to allow us to come across as a team and represent them in the QPL competition. Without their support we wouldn't be playing.''
Prior to working with the Sapphires, Eustance coached at various levels of indoor and outdoor netball.
"I am most accomplished in indoor where I have coached at both Queensland and Australian levels,'' he said.
"I'm lucky enough to have experienced a few wins over both my playing and coaching careers - from local competitions through to World Cups.''
Having a captain like Robyn Walsh to work with has helped Eustace.
"Robyn is a very experienced captain and has always been the main voice of this team,'' the coach said.
"The team loves hearing a good ol' Robyn pre-game inspirational quote each week and look forward to the game wrap afterwards too.''
Eustace believes this year's competition has strengthened compared to previous years.
Thursday night's 9.10pm match is the first in a series of testing encounters.
"Our games thus far have been challenging but our I feel over the next three weeks our biggest challenges are to come in Western Districts, Downey Park and (defending champions) Ipswich,'' he said.
Scooby has worked in the indoor sports industry for 28 years. He currently runs the Brisbane West Indoor Sports and Inflatable World at Darra.
"Over the years I have developed many relations in both indoor and outdoor and have a passion for both versions of the sport,'' he said.
"A large portion of my job is putting together and developing competitive teams in both indoor and outdoor.''
Away from netball, he enjoys a round of golf.
As for his "Scooby'' nickname, that goes back to his Aussie rules days where the rest of the story remains in-house.