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REAL NRL: Forbes confident Tigers will roar in 2023

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A year wiser could make all the difference to The Entrance Tigers in 2023, according to highly-regarded coach Jamy Forbes.

The Central Coast powerhouse narrowly missed a play-off berth in the 2022 Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) competition… and the hunger is there to succeed this season.

“Obviously, having had experience here a long time ago, I knew how tough it was going to be in the Denton Engineering Cup,” he said.

“So, it was all about trying to teach the boys what they could expect week-in week-out.

“I think by the end of the year, they realised it, however we were running low on numbers at that stage.

“Hopefully, this season, we’ll be better prepared.”

The Tigers are in terrific hands with Forbes as their mentor.

A former CRL Player of the Year, he also coached The Entrance to victory in the prestigious Jim Beam and Ron Massey Cups.

It’s a feat that’s rarely been achieved.

But, now, his focus is solely on the Real NRL.

“The off-season’s been really good,” Forbes said.

“And, securing someone like David Fifita is a coup.

“I don’t think recruiting players last year was a problem.

“The disruptions every club had with COVID and the weather didn’t help.

“It’s certainly no excuse.

“However, probably a lack of depth hurt us.

“I’m not saying the guys disrespected the competition, it was just getting them to understand how hard it would be on a weekly basis.

“There are no easy games in Newcastle Rugby League.

“But, I’m happy with how we’re travelling.

“Having David (Fifita) on board, with his experience, is beneficial for all involved in the club.

“We’ve also picked up a few other handy guys, who we think will help us get to where we need to be.”

A showdown with local rivals Wyong Roos at Morry Breen Oval on Saturday 24 March is the Tigers’ first priority.

However, Forbes has an eye on greater success, too.

“We probably have the same goals as everyone… we want to kick off on a winning note in the early rounds,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“You don’t want to be chasing your tail at the back end of the season.

“Hopefully, we can get off to a good start and put a few points on the board.

“And, then, we’ll reassess things from there.

“Ideally, it would be lovely to snare two or three victories from the opening few matches.

“But, we’re not here to make up numbers either.

“We realise it will be tough, with the likes of Maitland (Pickers), although I’m quietly confident.”

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League

Denton Engineering Cup round one

Saturday 24 March

  • 3pm: Wyong Roos v The Entrance Tigers (Morry Breen Oval)

Sunday 25 March

  • 3pm: Cessnock Goannas v South Newcastle Lions (Baddeley Park)
  • 3pm: Kurri Kurri Bulldogs v Maitland Pickers (Kurri Kurri Sportsground)
  • 3pm: Central Newcastle Butcher Boys v Macquarie Scorpions (St John Oval)
  • 3pm: Northern Hawks v Western Suburbs Rosellas (Tomaree Sportsground)
  • Bye: Lakes United Seagulls

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