The Kingston and Robe football clubs will play in a trial match at Kingston on Saturday.
Both teams have a few fresh faces who are ready to hit the ground running in the trial game, with the winner securing the prestigious Smith-Wilks Cup.
Both coaches told the Leader their players had been burning up the track and also talked through how they have been preparing for the trial matches over the last few months.
Kingston A grade coach Brad Richardson said the Saints had recruited well this year, with new players coming down from Adelaide over the summer to bond with their new teammates and prepare for the season.
“Four of our recruits have played in the hills and a couple of those four have played zone and interleague footy,” he said. “They’ll provide body strength and some experience for us.”
Richardson spoke about what his team will have to do to defeat Robe and some key traits that they will need to focus on.
“We’ll be putting plenty of tackling pressure on and we’re hoping that when we get a hold of it now that we’ll have a couple of targets up forward that can get a hold of it and kick a big score.”
Richardson also went into detail about the Saints had developed under his coaching since last year.
“Last year was my first year at Kingston and I focused on seeing where everyone was at. We’ve implemented a few new structures and that’s gone well. I suppose the proof will be how it all plays out.”
Kingston has a new fitness coach with Bryce Smith filling those shoes this year.
Kingston A grade will also be playing another trial match in Tailem Bend on March 25.
Robe A grade coach Jack Kelly is also pleased with the way the Roosters have recruited this year and he told the Leader about what he and the team have done over the preseason to prepare for the season.
“We’ve recruited reasonably well this year, couple of taller guys and another couple of solid onballers which will really fit into the way we want to play this year.”
Kelly also ran a training camp in Adelaide which has given the team as a whole the chance to get to know one another. He believes this has helped the boys considerably in preparing for the season.
Kelly is hoping to use the next few games as a significant learning experience for things to come.
“It’ll be the first time we’ve played together for a while. We just want the group to really gel and try and get these new structures in place.”
Kelly spoke about how he has developed as a coach since last year and what he hopes to bring to the team this year as a player.
“This year we’ll have a real team first mentality. I think I’ve still got a lot to offer on game day as a player but I’m also throwing a heap into it as a coach.”
Key position player Kane Cuthbertson has come onboard the A grade coaching staff as an assistant coach.
Robe will be playing again during the preseason cup on March 24 at Kongorong, followed by a Good Friday trial carnival in Robe against Millicent and Kyby on March 30.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.