GAME ON: Hammers Kyle Johnston will be looking to make his mark today.
GAME ON: Hammers Kyle Johnston will be looking to make his mark today. Leeroy Todd

Defensive battle

Rugby Union: Gympie Hammers will be hoping success with its new defensive structure will continue as the first game of the season kicks off today.

Facing a quick Nambour side, it will be a good test of the new structure. With a successful pre-season, Hammers vice-president Paul "Blacki" Blackburn said it would be interesting to see how it held up against a side like Nambour.

"They (Nambour) are usually a quick side, a stereotypical team. They don't have an A-grade squad this year and I guess some of those players from their A-grade will be playing in the reserves," he said.

"It will be tough competition for the Hammers but there should be a good display and a fair bit of running around."

Blacki said the defensive structure was focused on ownership and trust.

"It is about ownership where each defender is being accountable for blocking the opposition player you are against," he said.

"If you are playing any sport and you're a defender, then your responsible for what the attacking player does. It is a simple concept that sometimes gets lost. It's rugby 101. An opposition winger should not score if you are on him all day. Centres and wingers sometimes creep in to help in the middle but you have to trust the bloke on the inside.

"As sides usually have a rusty first match, Hammers have been in pre-season training since the second week of January with the players ready to have a run," he said.

"The boys are all keen and excited for the first game. There was about 25 blokes at training but it is about seeing which players are available because some have work commitments.

"There's much anticipation from the boys and after a long pre-season, they are now ready to have a go."

Kick-off today at 1.45pm, Albert Park.

Gympie Times


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