MOREE is looking in good shape to defend its Central North premiership, or at least be up there fighting for it.
The Bulls have retained most of their premiership-winning side, have the same coaching team back on board and are already chalking up the wins.
They travelled out to Dalby on Saturday coming away six tries to two victors – the comprehensiveness of the win coming as somewhat of a surprise to coach Damien Kelly.
“I thought it would be difficult when we rocked up with 17 and they had 34,” Kelly said.
Of those 17 only four played in the grand final last season, and the front row virtually had to play the whole game.
Kelly was particularly impressed with their attitude and their defence.
“Our defence was really good at the start,” he said.
“We were in our 22 the first 10-15 minutes and didn’t concede a try.”
He and Peter Copeman have put their hands up to do the job again.
“We were pretty keen to have another go,” Kelly said.
The secondrower also indicated he will pull on the boots again.
He was tossing up retiring.
“I played on the weekend at Dalby, and I played in the rugby league nines,” he said.
“I’ve gone from retiring to playing two codes.”
“(But) I might not play as much.”
That is the plan anyway.
Similar to last season they’ve had quite a few players turn up in town.
“We’ve got half a dozen new guys that all play in the backs,” Kelly said.
He got the chance to have a look at a couple of those on Saturday.
They have also picked up former Narrabri breakaway Ciaran O’Gorman. He’s moved to Moree for work and will be a handy addition to the back row.
The area they’re probably short in is front rowers. At this stage it looks like Andrew McNamara isn’t going to be playing.
He hasn’t been to training yet.
“He was talking about having a rest,” Kelly said.
“If we lose him he’ll be a big loss.”
McNamara was their player of the year last season.
Other than that though they haven’t really lost anyone.
Kelly said they won’t be looking to change too much about the way they play, although they will up the ante a bit.
“Because it was our first year we didn’t want to bring to many ideas in,” Kelly said.
They played a pretty simple game, but it was effective.
This year will be about building on last year.
“We’ll start bringing in a few more ideas,” he said.
“There’s bit of the attack I want to change.”
Defence will again be a big focus.
They also need to start well.
The Bulls will have another hit-out on March 22 against Robb College.