The Batemans Bay Tigers will open their 2011 South Coast Rugby League Group 7 campaign with a local derby against Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs at Mollymook Oval on Saturday.
The Tigers have been revamped during the off-season with a new captain-coach, a trio of recruits from England and a renewed sense of belief all boosting the club’s hopes of a successful season.
Tigers captain-coach Ben Ralston said he and his troops can’t wait to take the field for the first game of the season.
“There’s a lot of excitement amongst the boys and we’re all keen to get out there and see how the work we’ve done in pre-season translates on the field,” he said.
Ralston himself has only had the chance to play one match for the Tigers in pre-season, slotting comfortably into the halves for last week’s 52-4 thrashing of Bega. Despite the apparent lack of match time he said he wasn’t nervous about his first competitive match in charge.
“I’m excited more than anything,” he said.
“I really enjoyed being out there playing last Saturday and I felt very comfortable with the boys I had around me.”
Ralston said he had been very pleased with the way his players responded to a grueling pre-season training schedule.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of the players as far as attitude and effort goes,” he said.
“Hopefully they’ll be rewarded for their hard work with a good result on the weekend.”
As for Saturday’s opponents, Ralston said he expected the Bulldogs to provide the Tigers with a tough test first up.
“I’m not sure what to expect from Milton-Ulladulla exactly, but I think the opening 20 minutes of the game will be pretty intense with it being a local derby,” he said.
“After that I think the team that keeps their structure and controls the game the best will come out on top.”
The Tigers under 18s will kick off the afternoon of rugby league at 3pm. They will be followed by reserve grade at 4.30pm with first grade set to start at 6pm.