HARD YARDS: The Grafton Redmen first grade side performs sprints at the Grafton pool yesterday.
HARD YARDS: The Grafton Redmen first grade side performs sprints at the Grafton pool yesterday.

Redmen begin pre-season slog

By DAVE MORRISON

THE Grafton Jacaranda Hotel Redmen officially started their 2005 Far North Coast Rugby campaign last night with training at the Grafton Olympic Pool.

First grade coach Gary Powell has had a number players in training throughout the off season, however, last night marked the start of a more serious approach to the club's preparations.

For the next month, Powell will have a full squad going through a variety of drills at the pool each Tuesday from 5.30pm, while Thursdays will see more traditional training at the Rugby Park, South Grafton, from 6pm.

Powell said 2005 promised to be an exciting year for the Redmen with expectations high that the first grade side will be a competitive force in a revamped competition, with Yamba joining first grade.

"There is a general mood of optimism about the coming season," Powell said.

"The new clubhouse has had a lot to do with that, but we also have a new side, with the return of the Under-19s, some new players, the playing field has been fully re- habilitated, and of course, a new coach.

"The Under-19s will be a priority, capitalising on the tremendous growth in the club's junior structure in the past seasons and providing a pathway for players from our strong Under-17s from 2004."

A detailed pre-season trial program is being finalised and the Redmen will host a round of the Northern Provincial Championships in late February. Intending players should contact Powell or club president, Dave Morrison.



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