AFTER a season off due to a global pandemic the Portland Colts are ready to ride through a hopeful, stunning season of rugby league.
In 2020 Group 10 and Woodbridge Cup pulled the pin due to the evolving COVID-19 situation which led the Colts to hold a committee meeting and make a decision about whether they were going to participate in the Wallerawang Landscaping Cup, men's co-coach Kyle Willmott said.
"We had a meeting and said we might as well pull out because we thought for sure the comp wasn't going ahead, so we announced to all players and then a week later they [Wallerawang Landscaping Cup] went ahead anyway," Willmott said.
"Plus a few of our women [players] were working in aged care so it wasn't worth the risk," he said.
Willmott said despite having a season off, this year's action plan was to get fit and win games with the help of his co-coach Jake Gale.
Gale said a big preseason was planned to kick off from Friday, January 29 at Kremer Park.
"We want to have a big preseason really, get the boys in as one group.
"It feels like we've had the players but not the tight knit group that we need to take out the premiership. You seen that last year with Oberon, they're a very, tight knit town and they just love their footy," he said.
Willmott said Oberon would be the benchmark in this year's cup.
"They're sticking around and they'll be up there tow in again," he said. Gale said if they kept their team strong they'd be one to watch but for him, it was always CSU who put the pressure on.
Gale said Portland was a massive football town and not playing last year really had an affect.
"Everyone loves their footy, if you go and watch a game it doesn't take long to notice how much the town love it plus we've probably got the best viewing ground around," he said.
Gale said this year's goal was to push for finals footy.
"We really want to push for that top three, top two spot and then cement some home semis and then just come home strong, but also just getting on the field, playing with your mates and getting the town involved," he said.
To help them reach that goal plenty of returning players, new players and young guns were filling the side.
"We've got at least five or six new guys, and six or seven young blokes coming out of 18s," Willmott said.
Future of Wallerawang Landscaping Cup
Gale believes the Wallerawang Landscaping Cup is set to get stronger with the merging of Group 10 and 11.
"I'm not really a fan of the merger. In my eyes, no one wants to travel from Lithgow to Nyngan to play a game of footy.
"That's four-and-a-half hours, that's nine hours of travel a weekend to play 80 minutes of footy and if you've got partners in the league tag, that's a big day, a big weekend and a big drive home," he said.
Gale said strong club's like Bathurst Panthers, Pats, Orange Hawks and CYMS would benefit.
"They're in the middle to travel anyways so they've only got another two hours if that, but Lithgow, Blayney Cowra... it won't benefit them at all," he said.
"I don't believe it's a good thing but that's why I reckon Wallerawang Landscaping Cup will only get stronger."
The Portland Fillies league tag squad also welcomed a new coach in Sam Cameron.
Willmott said Cameron has played for the Colts for several years and has the capability to lead the women to victory.
"He's got Bianca Griffiths as manager to help and, 15 keen players at the moment," he said.
Anyone who is interested in joining the Colts as a player or supporter is encouraged to head down to Kremer Park at 5.30 on Friday.
"We'll go for a run and head to Portland RSL for a meet and greet so players that don't know each other can introduce and we can start that bonding early," Gale said.
"Join the Colts because we're a small town and we've got big spirit," Willmott said.
The club also wanted to thank its sponsors for their support.
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