ALTHOUGH finding success at the Kapooka 10s is great the Phantoms coaching staff believes the real challenge will come when the side faces off in its first 15-a-side contest.
The side took home the Kapooka title following a 45-10 win over CSU and the club see this as a fantastic way to kick off the season and will look to continue this form heading into the Cootamundra 10s where they are defending champions.
Phantoms coach Marika Vunabaka said pre-season was tracking along well.
“Fitness wise pre-season has gone pretty well,” Vunabaka said.
“We haven't done any ball stuff.
The only problem for us is the numbers. Sometimes people turn up and sometimes they don’t.
“We have to create an environment for the players to come.”
Player numbers were always going to be a concern for the side with forwards coach, Matt Allen saying they knew they would lose a few.
“We have actually lost a lot of our guys from last year just through blokes wanting to play a different code or just moving away,” Allen said.
“We have been very fortunate to pick up at least five new guys.”
Both coaches agreed it was good to see success coming in the 10s format however the real gauge will come when the full team action starts.
“We have a lot of Fijian players who love that open space so it falls into our hands to play that sort of game,” Allen said.
“The form they have shown in the open format has been quite good.
“We won't really know where we stand until we actually play a 15-a-side game.
“Then we can get a good gauge of how we are going to go.”
The Phantoms first 15-a-side competition will come when Leeton host the Southern Inland Rugby preseason knockout on Saturday April 1 before their round one clash with Tumut also in Leeton on April 8.
The first-grade side had a successful year finishing the regular season in third position however the side ran into issues with squad depth when compared to Wagga sides.
The Phantoms are still on the look out for one of the rarest finds in the SIRU competition which is a top quality front rower.