Coach takes caring, sharing approach
NEW Queensland coach Phil Jaques doesn't know much about how his predecessor Stuart Law went about his business, but he has quickly built up a different environment at Allan Border Field over the pre-season.
Law was widely known for his old-school "tough love" approach with his players.
But Jaques, nicknamed "Pro" for his meticulous preparation, believes sharing the love is the best way his players will reach optimal performance this summer.
"If they need a tough love approach, there'll be a tough love approach," he told APN.
"But sometimes an arm around the shoulder is important too."
Sharing the responsibilities among a large leadership group will also be a feature of the Bulls' 2015-16 season, as they strive to become a force at Sheffield Shield level again.
The Queenslanders' disappointing fourth-placed finish last summer led to the sacking of Bulls legend Law.
Rather than naming a vice-captain to support newly-appointed skipper Usman Khawaja, Jaques will draw upon the collective knowledge of a large leadership group.
"There isn't a vice-captain at the moment - just a group of trusted advisors," he said.
"There is a group of nine players within our squad of 21 that have been identified by their peers as leaders, and they'll bring different skills to the squad."
Along with Khawaja, there is a stack of players with Australian experience at the Bulls, including Joe Burns, Cameron Boyce, Ben Cutting, Peter Forrest, Peter George, James Hopes, Chris Lynn, Nathan Reardon and Chris Hartley.
Jaques believes the dream is still not over for keeper-batsman Hartley, who has only represented Australia A before, and Australia in a tour match during the 2009 Ashes in England.
The 33-year-old is still considered arguably the best gloveman in the country, and more than handy with the bat.
"Harts is not done with .... especially if he can perform well next season," Jaques said of the man who scored 522 Shield runs last season at an average of 37.28.
As for New South Welshman Jaques living up to his "Pro" nickname in his adopted state, nothing has changed.
"I'm doing some pretty long hours, but that's part of the job. I've actually been sleeping extremely well because I'm so tired when I get home," he said.
"The challenge has been going back home every weekend to my family because they're still in Sydney.
"Me and the coaching staff are just trying to prepare as well as we can, and trying to get ready for any scenarios that might come up."