GROUP 7 RUGBY LEAGUE
Reigningpremiers Albion Park-Oak Flats will have a testing assignment when they host last year’s grand final opponents Gerringong at Centenary Field tomorrow.
The Eagles were defeated 36-24 on home turf by the Jamberoo Superoos in their season opener a fortnight ago.
Michael Cronin’s Lions will be trying to reverse the result of last year’s grand final which the Eagles won 16-14 on this same ground, Centenary Field, to claim their eighth premiership in 14 years.
While 2013 is a brand new dawn, expect plenty of typical intensity and commitment from both the Eagles and Lions.
“We hope it is a close game. We’re pretty underdone as far as match time goes,” Eagles coach Steve Johnston said.
The Eagles had only one practice match in the pre-season and a couple of trials did not go ahead
The Eagles have only got four or five players from last year’s grand final but the senior group is leading by example.
“A lot of things have changed so we’ve got to bring in some new things, try and bring some players through and battle on,” Johnston said. “Even though we’re a different squad, they [Gerringong] are pretty much as they were in the grand final except for one or two changes.”
Club pride is something Johnston aims to instil in his squad. “It doesn’t matter who we put out there, as long as we play aggressive and show a bit of fight. That’s what I’m after,” he said.
“We’re a lot smaller, a lot younger. All the older fellows are still awesome.
“They’re training the house down and they try to impose their will on the young blokes to try to get them to be where they should be. The experienced blokes have been unreal for us. You can’t ask for much more from them.”
All Group 7 games were washed out last week so all the teams should be fresh for round three, with much more favourable weather forecast for this weekend.
Follow @mercury_sportsReigning premiers: Albion Park-Oak Flats Eagles players (left to right) Sean Jenkins, coach Steve Johnston, Gary Breakspear and Simon Pimanovs at training this week. The Eagles host Gerringong at Centenary Field tomorrow. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER
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