Hosts have the hunger: Kooty after first Pepperell Shield

RUGBY LEAGUE

KOOTINGAL has been hosting the Pepperell Shield for six years and is  still to lift the shield in victory.

Club president Phil Cook and coach Nathan Hamlin say it is about time and that they have the team to do it.

The shield is played in honour of Steve Pepperell, a local policeman who died of cancer, and raises money for the Cancer Council.

The Roosters will kick-off with a grudge match against Quirindi at 10am, before taking on Walcha at 3pm.

“Quirindi beat us twice last year to get into the final so we owe them one in my book,” Hamlin said.

“It is a bit of a grudge match and I think we will go all right.” 

Walcha could be the surprise packets this season, but could also hold the key to Kooty claiming the shield.

“I heard they have some new blokes and a few of the rugby boys changed over,” Hamlin said.

“If that is true they could be all  right.” 

Hamlin was due to return to the side from injury for the shield, but has picked up another knock and won’t play until the season starts in earnest.

The shield sets the benchmark for Second Division each season and gives sides a look at how each other are shaping up.

This year seven sides have signed up for the pre-season competition.

Manilla is returning to defend the shield they won for the first time following a winless 2012 season.

The one-day carnival is a bit different and not the usual round robin format.

Each team will play two games and the side with the best result for the day takes the shield home.

Hamlin is not to sure about the format, but knows what the team has to do to win the 50-minute games.

“Go as hard as you can for as long as you can and then put your hand up,” Hamlin said.

The coach said defence would be the key to success, although the format makes it tough.

“We have got to stop them from scoring but at the same time rack some points up for the for and against.” 

“We looked good in the trials and have been training well.” 

“If all the boys put in and defend well we will be hard to beat.” 

The day will also feature five teams in a Ladies Leaugue Tag competition.

Kick-off will be on Saturday morning at 9am.

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