THE Werris Creek Magpies have taken a big step towards the Group 4 reserve-grade season with a trial match against the North Tamworth Bears.
This season marks the first time Werris Creek will field a reserve-grade side and Saturday's clash marked the side's first game as a unit.
While the Bears controlled the scoreboard on the day, Magpies reserve-grade coach Chris Wilson told the Leader there was "a lot of positives" to come from Saturday's match.
"We are a team that hasn't played together a lot," Wilson said.
"But I was far from disappointed with the effort our guys gave in the trial match.
"We have got a pretty big pool of players to pick from this season, which means there are a variety of new combinations we can look out throughout the season.
"There was a bit of chopping and changing in regards to positions and combinations during the game, but the boys handled it well and will only get better as we go along."
Wilson said North Tamworth was "the perfect trial match" opponent for his newly-formed side.
"I really think North Tamworth is the benchmark in our competition," he said.
"Their guys have played a lot of football together, are well drilled and really fit.
"So from that perspective they are a really good club to test yourself against before the season."
Ahead of their season-opening clash against the Bears on May 4, Wilson believes fitness will be a key area of focus for his side.
"At the moment we have been going around pretty well at training," Wilson said.
"But we would love to see that continue, so given we have a bit more than a month before the season starts to prepare, fitness will a big focus for us that's for sure."
The Creek will have another opportunity to prepare for the beginning of the Group 4 season, with a trial match against the Kootingal-Moonbi Roosters scheduled for April 13.
"That match will be at Kootingal and will be really good for us as well," Wilson said.
"There are a few guys who didn't play against the Bears who will come into the team for the run against the Roosters.
"As well as that, there are also a few guys, such as Zac Buckley, who we don't know their movements for the season yet so there is a bit to look forward to there.
"I think it's not just the club who is looking forward to the season but the community as a whole.
"They have really got behind us and have made the idea of fielding a reserve-grade side this season a reality."