Tweed Coast Tigers welcome new player on a winning streak
COMING off the back of three straight flags, North Broken Hill's six-time premiership winning captain Jarrad Ruddock is set to add even more of a winning culture to the Tweed Coast Tigers in 2014.
After moving to Cabarita in the pre-season, the Aussie rules club's biggest signing said he looked forward to the coming season and already felt part of the Tigers family.
"The boys have been great," Ruddock said. "They have been really welcoming and we are fit and ready to go for the first round."
The Tigers go into this Summerland AFL season as reigning champions for two years running and grand finalists for three years straight.
With this in mind, it is fair to say the benchmark team of the competition will have a target on their backs, and teams such as Ballina will be shooting to bring them down.
Tigers club president Mark Downward said he expected competition to be even harder this year and his team would have to be on its game from the outset.
"We have Ballina in round one and they are really going to challenge us across the paddock," Downward said.
"The club has a handful of new players on their roster and have been training well in the pre-season.
"Our new recruits and established players have all been training really well and our fitness is pretty good."
Ruddock said his family was ready for a seachange and he looked forward to the season proper with the Tigers.
"My partner and I were just ready for a change and I knew Mark (Downward) from his days in Broken Hill so it made perfect sense to move to Cabarita," Ruddock said.
The South Australian will provide high-level experience to the Tigers outfit, having played league footy for almost a decade.
"Broken Hill has a very strong AFL following and a high-level competition to go with it so hopefully my experience down there can help this season" he said.
The 2013 best and fairest, James Wall, is set to make his return to the field from a knee reconstruction a few rounds into competition, boosting the Tigers' stocks further.