Ackerman adding muscle for Falcons
WHEN Falcons recruit James Ackerman says he never really left the Coast, he isn't just being sentimental.
Even when the former Mountain Creek student was a mainstay of the Redcliffe forward pack, he called the Sunshine Coast home.
"I would just drive down there for training and to play and then I would be straight back up here," he said.
"There was a lot of travel involved but it was a great opportunity for me.
"I got to play alongside some really good players and under some great coaches and it really helped me develop."
Travel was one of the major reasons Ackerman decided to move back to the Coast and sign with the rebuilding Falcons.
The 24-year-old, who first moved to Redcliffe as an 18-year-old and earned a Broncos' youth contract while at the club, was sick of missing time with his children Oliver, 2, and Milly, 1.
"There's a lot of travel involved and a lot of being away from home so coming back to the Coast has made it a lot easier for my family," he said.
His decision was a boon for a Falcons organisation that was looking to add toughness to a team that has been historically poor in recent seasons.
"Toughness is something we've tried to add this off-season," said second-year chief executive Chris Flannery, who has bolstered the squad significantly this year.
"In the training we've done so far, (Ackerman) is just another step above a few of the boys in terms of the way he trains and that toughness."
Along with former Broncos under-20 teammate Ryan Hansen, Ackerman hopes to make the Coast a pack opposition ball runners fear.
"At the end of the day, stats aren't going to matter if you're scared of the players you are running at," Ackerman said.
"Intimidation is a big part of winning games in this league and it's about being aggressive in defence.
"That's all about attitude and if I can bring that to the club, I will be happy."
Coast players will have a chance to impress coaches at an opposed session at Kawana Sports Precinct on Saturday.
While Ackerman's spot in the squad is safe, the session will give fringe players an opportunity to impress coaches.
The club will also hold opposed sessions for its under-16, under-18 and under-20 players.
Fans are invited to attend the sessions from 3.30pm.