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REAL NRL: Wyong Roos ready to leap into 2023 season

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The Wyong Roos are ready to make their mark in Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) in 2023.

That’s the prediction from captain-coach Mitch Williams as he prepares his charges for their second full season in the Denton Engineering Cup.

Even though the club participated in the COVID-affected 2020 competition, won by the Cessnock Goannas, the Roos’ 2021 campaign was derailed by the pandemic, too.

A mid-table finish last year means it’s now “take two” for the Central Coast outfit.

“Because I’d played [in the Real NRL] before, I knew how hard it was going to be every week,” Williams said.

“So, 2022 was a good learning curve for the other guys – and the younger blokes – who’ve spent a lot of time on the Central Coast playing first grade.

“The level each week [there] is up and down; there are some stronger teams, but also some weaker ones.

“That’s not the case in Newcastle Rugby League.

“Kurri Kurri finished last in 2022, however they beat us.

“It’s tough every week, players need to understand it, and that was the difference.”

Williams believes the Roos know what to expect moving forward.

“We’ve definitely trained better this pre-season,” he said.

“I think the boys realise the level they need to get to.

“Having the pride in their performance and the ‘want’ to be the best is what we’re looking for.

“After seeing how hard other sides are, and the work they’re doing, they comprehend what we now need to do to be at the top, which is where we want to be.

“Although we’re lucky to have a really strong core group, we’ve picked up a few players, who’ll lift the squad.

“Ryan Walsh, from Central Newcastle, will play in the halves.

“That’s an area we needed to fix.

“We’ve also secured a couple of outside backs… I’m looking forward to seeing them in action.

“Lathan Hutchison-Walters played a bit of junior footy in Sydney, he appears to be a good prospect.

“But, everyone’s working hard at training – and enjoying themselves.

“At the moment, I think I’m coaching a bit better this time around, too.

“I’m still learning, the players are still learning; we’re developing nicely.”

However, Williams makes no apologies for setting lofty goals in 2023.

“The aim is to always win the comp,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“I don’t think anyone enters a season not doing that.

“Right now, it’s about how do we win the competition?

“Every team has the same ambition.

“But, it’s what do we do at training, which is going to help us achieve that?

“So, in that respect, I’d like to start strongly.

“It’s important to bank wins early because injuries, and other things, can affect you down the track.

“We have The Entrance in round one, which will be a huge clash for us.

“It’s our local derby.

“There is a buzz around the Tigers on the Central Coast after a few key signings, including former NRL star David Fifita.

“And, I believe that’s good for the game down here.

“You want Central Coast to be strong.

“I know Jamy’s (Forbes) worked hard with his boys.

“However, I’d be happy to knock them over.”

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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