Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Tungamah looks ahead to a new season

Tungamah won't be looking back at last season's success as it prepares for a whole new ball game which kicks off this weekend against Rennie in Picola District Football League south-east.

MATTHEW GALEA March 27, 2014 4:10am

Lee James appears unlikely to take part in Tungamah’s season opener at Rennie.

It is back to square one for reigning Picola District Football League south-east premier Tungamah as far as co-coach Nick Doyle is concerned.

The Bears swept all before them last year, losing only one game on the way to premiership glory, but Doyle said the hunters would be the hunted this year.

‘‘I think that’s what happens. Teams look at you and because they get to play you two or three times, they really come after you,’’ Doyle said.

‘‘But our boys are hungry and to the new boys we’ve had come in, last year means nothing to them, and that’s the message I’m trying to get across to the whole group.’’

Rennie gets first crack at the Bears, with the round three fixture being pushed forward to this weekend to give both teams the Easter weekend off.

For some, the prospect of taking on the dominant reigning premier might be daunting, but Grasshoppers coach Ryan Forsyth said it was more exciting than intimidating.

‘‘We’re very realistic about where we’re at as opposed to where they’re at, but it’s a good opportunity for us to see what we’re about,’’ Forsyth said.

‘‘We’re going out to win, even if there’s no hiding from the fact that it’s going to be a tough one.

‘‘It’s a good opportunity for us to see where we can improve to get to that level.’’

If the Grasshoppers have any chance of taking the four points from the game, Forsyth said they would to have to fight hard.

‘‘If you’re not on your game, they’re really going to hurt you, so it’s important you have that intensity to win the footy and win it back when you don’t have it,’’ Forsyth said.

Both teams have some injury concerns in their forward lines heading into the season opener.

Rennie’s star recruit Justin Plapp, who was only expected to feature occasionally for the Grasshoppers, has suffered a broken ankle and will probably not feature at all this season as a result.

‘‘I’d say that’s it for the year ... but he’ll still be around supporting us,’’ Forsyth said.

Tungamah’s Lee James is also in doubt, having picked up a foot injury during the last week of preseason.

James was the Bears’ leading goal-kicker last year with 91, but Doyle said his side had plenty of depth to cover the loss.

‘‘He’s very important, but the injury is a week-to-week prospect and it’s not a long-term thing,’’ Doyle said.

‘‘Ash Saunders has performed well in the practice matches and we’ve got Damian Payne and Matt Clarke as well, so I think we’re well stocked.’’

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