League pair the centres of attention

TAMWORTH Magpies’ inside backs will be in a league of their own when they open their Central North season away at Moree.

Former Wests Lions rugby league stars Brendan Hunt and Scott Rolls will play 10 and 12 in the opening game.

Hunt has played for the Magpies before and found his feet in the pre-season playing for Central North at the Country Championships.

League front rower Rolls has never played the game before but has been training with the Magpies for a few months.

Coach Ross Duncan said the two would add some much- needed size and go-forward to the backline.

“Scott (Rolls) will be played in the backs Sonny Bill style,” Duncan said.

“Taking the ball forward with his hard running style.” 

Rolls was an integral part of West’s premiership roll of five straight but left the club in January to join Tamworth.

“Brendo (Hunt) is here, and a couple of other mates came back to town and were playing ra-ra,” Rolls said.

“Once you get your head around the rules it’s a good game and I’ve been having fun.”

Rolls is loving the extra room and space in rugby and can’t wait to get on the field.

“I have heard a bit about the Moree backs.”

“It will be good to watch them out there and suss them out.”

Duncan is excited about the new-look backline and will be fiddling with positions in the first few weeks.

The Magpies are aiming to get in the top tier of the competition but will have to do it the hard way.

“It is a tough start playing the premiers and then Pirates,” Duncan said.

“It will let us know where we stand early and what we have to do to make that top five.” 

Moree coach Damien Kelly isn’t too concerned with the new system.

“We will go in with the same mindset as last year and that is to win every game,” Kelly said.

That worked perfectly last year, with the Bulls only losing one game on their way to the title.

Moree has all but kept that same side and has picked up a few extras as well.

“We keep picking up backs,” Kelly said.

“The boys have been working really hard in the off season and, with the new guys, we have a very quick backline.” 

The Bulls will be missing grand final man of the match Damien Meppem who is sheep dog trialling.

They have picked up Narrabri backower Kieran O’Gorman who will play hooker in the opening rounds.

“It is always a long off season and we are looking forward to getting into it again,” Kelly said.

The new Magpies’ inside back pairing will have their hands full in this first game with Bulls fly half Mitch Carrigan in the form of his life.

“He is playing as good as footy as I have ever seen him play,” Kelly said.

“He was the key to last year’s title.

“We don’t feel any pressure about going back to back or defending the title.

“We are just looking to have some fun and win each game as it comes.”

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