NORTH Tamworth will look to tighten their strangle hold on Group 4 in 2019 with younger players set to fill the hole of several key departures.
The Bears registered their fifth consecutive premiership in 2018 and playing-coach Scott Blanch is hopeful his side can make it six in 2019.
“At this stage it is shaping up pretty well,” Blanch said.
“We recently began our pre-season training and so far we have had plenty of interest, which is pleasing.”
The side will have a new look in 2019 after seasoned premiership players Nic Dobson and Billy Jeffery hung up their boots at the end of the 2018 season.
“Barring a few players we’ve lost, I think our playing group from this year will pretty much stay in tact for next season,” Blanch said.
“We will be missing a couple of guys due to retirement but by and large we should be pretty similar.
“I guess one positive aspect of that is that it creates a few opportunities for some of our younger players to step up and fill those roles for us.
“We are pretty lucky to have great player depth, some really talented younger players and plenty of guys willing to do the hard work that’s required to play first grade.
“In a lot of ways having a few spots to fill is pretty exciting because you get to see who will step up and fill those spots.”
Blanch said the club was “working hard” to secure the services of a former Bear for the 2019 season.
“Josh Schmiedel is someone we have reached out to so far during the off-season,” he said.
“Being a former player at the club and a former country NSW representative, Josh would be a major coup for our club.
“It would be great to have him and his family back at our club but we will just wait and see with that one.
“All up, we have a lot of work to do ahead of next season, but I am pretty happy with how things are looking at the moment.”