Rams take down Roos
THE Central Highlands Rugby Union competition has officially kicked off as the Emerald Rams welcomed the Rolleston Roos to Morton Park and defeated the visitors 38-5.
Rolleston club treasurer Nathan Blackburn summed up the Roos' first game as a great effort by the side for its first game back.
"I think considering we were playing the defending premiers we did well," he said.
"At one point we only had one on the bench, we had four to start off with then lost three to four to injuries and only had one available on the bench."
A positive from the match for Blackburn was the noticeable improvement in the players' fitness.
"We focused on fitness in the pre-season and we started a lot earlier," Blackburn explained.
"It was tight last year, we got so close but fitness let us down.
"So this year the focus was on being able to translate (fitness) into points on the board."
Blackburn said the challenge of recruiting enough players had been difficult as he explained it is getting harder for players to maintain a job and play rugby without risk to their employment.
Though the team does recruit from Rolleston, the side is made up of a large percentage of Emerald based players as Blackburn explained the side is open to players who live in the region and not just Rolleston.
On a positive note, Blackburn said the side had been able to maintain core players from the past two to three years and he believes those players will be essential in guiding the team this year.
Despite the loss, Rolleston president Kurt Johnson is confident the Roos are in for a good season.
"There's a lot of talent coming up in the young fellas," he said.
"As the competition goes on it will just get better and better.
"It will be a good year I reckon. We are off to a good start from the preseason."
The Roos preseason saw the side running 35km to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Mates4 Mates appeal.
The Roos have a bye this weekend and will play the Cattledogs in Capella the following weekend before its first match at home on May 14.