THE Kootingal Roosters are looking to go all the way this year in Group 4 Second Division after beating a visiting Gulgong 16-6 on Saturday.
The Nathan Hamlin- coached side was knocked out of the competition by Dungowan in the minor semi last season and is once again looking to hit the top four.
“There are ten teams in the comp this year and it just keeps getting stronger and stronger,” Hamlin said.
“You could name six sides now and any one of them could win it this season.
“It is going to be a tough year.”
A big bonus for the Roosters is the return of hooker Matt McCulloch who played for Quirindi last season and was an integral part of their grand final berth.
James Considine is also returning and will bolster the side up front, whilst halfback Brett Cloake is also making a comeback after four years out of the game.
“We have kept a pretty good squad together and got those older blokes coming back as well,” Hamlin said.
“We will be pretty strong up the middle and in defence and that showed out there against Gulgong.”
Hamlin was very pleased with the trial and praised captain and five-eighth Jordan Sharpe for a solid game, as well as Jeremy York and Brad Jones at lock.
“It was a pretty tough hit-out and the boys played well.”
“Our defence was really good and we only let one try in off a kick.”
Kooty is hosting this year’s annual Pepperell Shield which will give a real insight into the second division season, with most sides entering.
Last season’s premiers Barraba will be coming into the shield and season with some momentum after easily accounting for Quirindi on Saturday in a grand final rematch five tries to one.
Dungowan also had a win at Jack Woolaston Oval on Saturday against North’s reserves, before the Bears’ first grade beat Greta Branxton 28-12.