• RUGBY LEAGUE
AFTER a long and tough pre-season under new captain-coach Trent Dally, the Whitsunday Brahmans are itching to get out of the starting blocks.
Dally admitted that his players had started to look stale at training in recent weeks after a gruelling pre-season campaign, which started way back in November.
And if a couple of months of disrupted training due to the constant rain and a long weekend a week out from round one aren’t exactly the ideal preparation, Dally at least liked what he saw when the players returned to duty on Monday night.
“I started to see the excitement come back,” Dally said.
That’s good news for supporters who suffered through an inconsistent 2009.
This season promises much for the Brahmans who recruited heavily in the off-season, including the marquee signing of Dally.
Especially in attack, the Brahmans have looked the real thing in their trials but one issue of concern is their continued propensity to turn the ball over early in their sets.
According to Dally, turning that around – along with a charmed run with injuries – is key to transforming the Brahmans into premiership contenders this year.
“I think we’ve definitely got a premiership winning outfit,” Dally said.
“We’ve just got to get our defence right and make sure we control the ball and get through our sets better.”
That will start this Saturday night with a road trip to Sarina.
The Brahmans played their last trial game of the season away to the Crocodiles less than a fortnight ago, losing by two points after the home side kicked a penalty goal on the bell.
The Whitsunday outfit had six or seven of their front line players out on that occasion, including big guns Dally, Rhys Kaka and last season’s Paul Bowman Medal winner Grant Cooke, contributing to the loss.
A lack of artillery won’t be a problem this time around, with Dally expecting a full compliment of players for what may be a spiteful clash.
Dally and many of his players were less than impressed with the ungraceful way in which Sarina’s players carried on after their trial win two weeks ago and he expects them to be surprised at what his side brings this week.
“Maybe they thought that was our top team but you can’t read much into a game with six or seven players out,” he said.
“We’ll have close to our best 17 on the paddock this time around and a completely different game style, so let’s just see how it goes.”
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