GYMPIE Hammers coach David Crowley believes a successful pre-season positions the rugby union side ideally ahead of an opening clash against Maroochydore tomorrow.
The Hammers will be hitting the road for the Sunshine Coast competition opener and Crowley said the first round would be a challenge.
“Maroochydore is at the top of the competition and has a really solid team,” he said.
Maroochydore thumped the Hammers in their first encounter last year, but the Gympie side took heart from closing the margin the second time the sides crossed paths.
This time around, the Hammers are shaping up to be a different prospect for the Sunshine Coast powerhouse.
Four new English recruits have shaken up the team, while rigorous pre-season training has the side in the best shape ahead of an opening round clash in recent years.
“The boys have worked hard in the pre-season, including their fitness, and I think we will see the fruits of their labour,” Crowley said.
Included in the winning pre-season were two trial match wins. One was against a New South Wales visiting side and the other against arch rivals Fraser Coast.
The Hammers’ confidence is a far cry from earlier in the season, when there were concerns over low playing stocks.
Tomorrow’s match gets underway at 3pm in Maroochydore. In action earlier is reserve grade, playing at 1.30pm.