When South Tamworth ended Old Boys’ long champions reign last season, after five consecutive grand final defeats, it uncorked a spontaneous eruption of joy.
Fast forward to this season and Souths have a new-look side following the retirements of several players, while there is a familiar look to Old Boys.
That is why Old Boys captain Ben Middlebrook hopes the grand final loss was a “hiccup”, as the side looks to immediately reclaim their No.1 spot. He expects his charges to be hungrier this season.
He said: “At the end of the day there's no point aiming for last. Like I said, we’ve got the main core of our squad that’s been pretty successful over the last five years.
“We’re hoping last year was just a hiccup and we can get back on track this season.”
He admitted that there was a different atmosphere in the side because they were no longer champions.
The pressure was now on Souths as the “team to beat”, he added.
Old Boys opened the season with a tie against South Tamworth. The following two rounds were abandoned due to wet weather.
On Saturday at Riverside 2, Old Boys will meet a Bective East side who can no longer rely on the potent services of Adam Jones, after the longstanding Bulls captain retired at the end of last season.
“Obviously they’ll miss Jonesy,” Middlebrook said. “But someone’s got to step up if they’re gonna be competitive.
“Young Lachie Barton’s been scoring runs at the start of the season. So he’ll be someone we’ll be trying to contain tomorrow [Saturday], and hopefully we can do that.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, West Tamworth plays South Tamworth at No.1 Oval, while North Tamworth and City United clash at Riverside 1.
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