After a successful pre-season, Moree Bulls are roaring to take on the Gunnedah Red Devils in round one of the Central North Rugby Union competition on Saturday.
The Bulls have had a strong pre-season with success in trial matches against Goondiwindi, Walgett and Guyra, as well as making it to the final in the Croppa Creek gala day, and first grade coach David Silversides is confident of a good season ahead.
“We’ve had a very good pre-season and good numbers at training,” he said.
“We’ve had a number of trial matches and have prepared as well as we can. I’m optimistic for the season ahead.”
With a number of new and young players to the club this year, the first grade side has undergone some significant changes, so Silversides said this year is more about rebuilding than winning.
“With a lot of new players it’ll take time to build up our combinations,” he said.
“Obviously the end goal is to win as many games as you can, although it’s not only about results but building up team combinations and building a game structure that suits our players and the strengths they have.
“We want to see a progressive improvement over the coming season.”
While the Red Devils haven’t been strong competitors over the past few years, Silversides isn’t expecting it to be an easy match.
“I anticipate a strong team from Gunnedah to challenge us on the weekend,” he said.
“They’ve gone through a bit of a rebuilding stage too and have attracted a few new players to their club, so I’m anticipating a strong hit-out.
“We’ve been happy with our trial form but obviously trial form doesn’t always reflect competition form.”
In other games Walcha host Quirindi and Narrabri are at home to Barraba.
The Blue Boars will have a few new faces running out, with only three of the starting side from last years grand final in the 15 for Saturday. Inspirational captain Matt Schwager, Henry Curtin and Mitch Kelly are also reportedly not going to be pulling on the boots this season.
Speed outwide meanwhile again looks like being a weapon for Walcha.
“We are very quick in the outside backs,” Rams co-coach Hyde Thompson said.
While they have lost Country rep Soni Halanukonuka, they’ve picked up a couple of decent halves and some outside handy backs.