WE may only be days into 2015 but Orange City Rugby Union Club has its pre-season planned, and scheduled to start this week.
The club will hold its season launch this Friday before the first training session on January 14.
The Lions’ pre-season will include at least two trial matches and two 10s tournaments.
First grade coaches Steve Hamson and Mick Gray are putting more emphasis on the pre-season this year.
“We want to take more account of our pre-season rather than make things optional,” Hamson explained.
Their first trial match will be against West Harbour at Pride Park on February 28.
A week later, on March 7, they’ll line up in the Cowra 10s.
“We’ll be going there with the intention of winning that,” Hamson said of the Cowra tournament.
The Lions will head to Newcastle to take on Novocastrian heavyweights Wanderers on March 14 and 15 before lining up in the Orange City 10s on March 21.
“The 10s will give us the opportunity for lots of footy and the trials will give us the opportunity for more structured football,” Hamson explained.
This year’s Orange City first grade side will have changes from the squad which finished third in the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup.
Back rower Gus Brotherton has moved to Sydney to test himself there and Sam Powell has also moved away from Orange.
Brothers Sam and Jackson Coote have signed on to play rugby league with Orange Hawks this year.
Hamson is still confident the Lions will field a competitive side in 2015.
John Young and Anthony Kent will coach the club’s second grade outfit, while Joe Blunt, Nick Kennedy and Tui Masila will mentor the third grade side.
Fletcher Niven and Dave Smith have returned to coach the colts after guiding last year’s side to the premiership.
Hamson said the senior club will be working more with the junior Lions in 2015 to get more consistency across the two groups.
“We want to do some in-house coach education with the juniors,” he explained.
“We want to take a more active role with the juniors and help develop those players so when they come into colts, they’re ready.”
The senior club will have training sessions on January 14, 21 and 28.
They will then train on Mondays and Wednesdays during February, before switching to Tuesdays and Thursdays in March.
The junior club will hold registration days on February 13 (5.30-7pm) and 14 (11am-1pm), at Pride Park, and will accept rolling registrations after that.
The Lion cubs are also calling for coaches from under 7s up to under 17s.
The club’s launch will be held at the Royal Hotel this Friday from 6pm.
Players can meet the coaches and talk about the plans for the pre-season. Those interested in playing for the Lions are also welcome to attend.