NORTH Wagga suggested they may be the Farrer League’s big improvers this season with a promising pre-season display against Turvey Park.
The Saints had a three-quarter first grade hit-out against Riverina League club Turvey Park at Maher Oval on Friday, where they came out victorious by about four goals.
It backed up a solid trial the week before against Hume League club Osborne, where little separated the two teams at full-time.
North Wagga assistant coach Daniel Jordan starred in both trials and looks set for a big year at centre-half-back after injury cruelled his first year at the Saints.
“We’re starting to see the sort of footballer he really is,” North Wagga coach Kirk Hamblin said.
“We’re playing him in the position he’s used to and he’s 100 per cent fit too, which is good.”
Injuries hit North Wagga hard last year in what was a season that promised so much.
Hamblin is confident they can improve on last year’s sixth-placed finish.
“We’ve concentrated on a lot more fitness this pre-season and we haven’t had anywhere near the amount of injuries we had last year,” he said.
“I’m happy with the list we’ve got, that’s never been the issue.”
Turvey Park started strongly in the trial but missed opportunities cost the undermanned Bulldogs.
“Turvey jumped us at the start and if they made the most of their opportunities, they could have put us away,” Hamblin said.
Ned Mortimer was another player to shine for North Wagga, rotating between full-forward and the midfield, while Andrew Emery and Matt Bailey were good for Turvey Park.
North Wagga will play a full first grade game against Wagga Tigers at 4pm on Saturday to round out their preparation for round one.
The trial will be followed by their season launch at 6.30pm.
“It’s going to be full blown four quarters of first grade with RUA umpires. It will be a good benchmark against the best in the RFL,” Hamblin said.
Meantime, Marrar defeated an undermanned Collingullie-Glenfield Park by 34 points at Langtry Oval on Saturday.
A knee injury to midfielder Matt Klemke was the biggest concern for the Demons, who were without coach Luke Gestier, Marc Geppert, Will Haines, Chris Jackson, Kal Sykes, Dan Kennedy and Nick Kennedy.
Leeton-Whitton enjoyed a big win over Lockhart in their opening trial, winning by about 80 points.
Tom Meline shone in a new role across half-back, while Luke Potter bagged seven goals.
Osborne also enjoyed a strong win over Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong.