Tigers and Diggers assemble troops for new campaigns

URALLA Tigers and Oxley Diggers will be in audition mode at Uralla today with their respective campaigns fast approaching.

Both are stepping up to first grade this season with the Tigers returning to the Group 19 top grade and the Diggers forming this year to play in Group 4 First Division.

Today’s trial will be the new venture’s fourth, after playing the Newcastle Sea Horses, Scone and Armidale Rams.

“The Armidale game was promising,” coach Jamie Trindall said.

“We had a few bad patches but are improving.”

He’s hoping to have the equivalent of two sides and will be using today to help settle on a first grade side.

“Hopefully I can pick a first grade side, or at least one for the (Wests) knockout,” he said.

While they’ve got another trial against Gunnedah next Friday night, he’d ideally like to have the side settled by then.

He’s got plenty of players to have a look at, and some tough decisions to make on a few positions with almost too many options.

“The last couple of weeks we’ve had an average of 20 plus to training,” he said.

“We’ve got a fair bit of depth now. Reserve grade should be pretty strong.”

Trindall conceded he did have some concerns early that they would struggle for second grade but those concerns have been allayed.

“It looks like we’ll have all four grades now,” Trindall said.

Aside from having a good look at the players, he’d like to see them start to get their sets going and start putting their plays together in a game 

situation.

They have been doing it at training but when it’s come to the games they’ve been too one-out.

The Tigers are coming off a runner-up finish at the Group 19 Gala Day at Moree last week.

“We just wanted to get out there and be competitive,” coach Carl Press said.

“We ended up in the grand final and being the only side to put points on the Boomerangs.”

It’s certainly given him some hope for the season.

“We have the nucleus of a side that can develop into a very good side over the season,” he said.

At the moment, he said, there’s probably about 25 players in contention for first grade.

That’s what today will hopefully sort out.

Press said they’ll probably have about 30 trialling.

“There’s some we haven’t seen a lot at (yet),” he said.

It’ll be their last chance with the competition kicking off next week.

Press will be keen to see how the players react under pressure and said he’d like to see them play with the structure and shape they’ve been working on at training.

From last weekend they also need to improve their “soft discipline”.

It will be a full day of football with the ladies league tag sides playing at noon. The Tigers 18s will then take on Wests at 1pm with the seniors following at 2.15pm.

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