AFTER having the win in their grasp back in the first round, St Albert’s will be looking to open their account against Guyra tomorrow.
The New England competition is resuming after a break for uni holidays and Easter and will see the students hosting the Ghosts and Barbarians tackling Armidale.
Albies will have a few of their big players back on deck, with five-eighth James Reynolds due to make his return from a head knock.
Nick Smith will also have his first run-on after playing part of the first game.
He’s played mostly at half-back but will play openside tomorrow.
“We’re experimenting with him there,” coach Tom Newsome said.
“He’s probably our best defensive player.
“He adds a bit of starch there and a bit of pace.”
Ed Richards also comes into outside centre.
He didn’t play last season but was part of the first grade side the season before that.
They have had a fairly large turnover of players.
“We must have lost nine or 10 out of last year’s side,” Newsome said.
“That’s obviously been a bit of a challenge.
“Having said that, we had a pretty good second grade side last year.”
They’ve been fortunate in that regard to not lose too much.
They are coming off a first-up 23-17 loss to Barbarians.
“It was a bit disappointing from our end,” Newsome said.
“We led for most of the match.”
But a bit of ill-discipline hurt them.
“We had a guy put in the bin for the last 10,” he said.
“He was a winger and they scored down that side.”
There were, though, a lot of positives to come out of the game, he said, being their first game of the year.
The focus for tomorrow is mainly on “early season stuff”.
“We’re trying to keep it as simple as possible and do the simple things well,” Newsome said.
“If we do that, we’ve got something to build on.”
He’s not really sure what Guyra will be like.
“We haven’t really heard anything,” Newsome said.
“We’ll be learning as we go.”
The Ghosts will be at about 70 per cent strength, president Greg Hill said, in both first and second grade.
“There is a large number of new players from rugby league backgrounds and a few seasoned players returning to play for Guyra,” Hill said.
He said he expected Albies would be a lot fitter and more mobile but they should have superior physicality and experience.