It is deja vu for the Boggabri Roos in Saturday’s Group 4 second division season opener.
The Roos face 2016 grand finalists, Dungowan Cowboys, the same side which eliminated them from last year’s final series.
Boggabri club president Greg Haire was in little doubt, the round one clash would be tough.
“We’ve lost a few numbers from last year,” Haire said.
“I think we’ll have a team but only 1-2 reserves.
“We’ve never beat Dungowan up there.
“It will be tough.”
Ongoing player work commitments, player retirements, early season injury and club defections has struck out at least six of their playing best.
Lock Boyd Campbell is returning to his junior footy roots at Gunnedah while Brett Crowley is out for at least half the season with a broken ankle. His injury came in the first game of the pre-season West Knockout in Tamworth where Boggabri beat Diggers by a point 16-15 and won 19-8 against returning competition club, Bendemeer, but cruelly, didn’t have the troops to carry on.
But the mighty Roos, which celebrated their club’s centenary year in 2016, still have plenty to play for.
Coach Dave Harris is back for his fifth season in the job meanwhile Jason Kemp will lead the club’s league-tag side again as coach.
Also pulling on the green and gold again this season is Bobby Jones, Mitch and Jayde Campbell as well as Brad Hamilton, who returns to playing field after a season on the sideline nursing a shoulder injury.
Also in the mix are teenagers Nick Hobden (wing) and Brendan Gilham (backline).
Gilham was recently selected in the Group 4 Under 23 side due to compete at the Greater Northern Championships in Armidale next month.
“It’s great to have two young fellas in the side,” Haire said.
The club was also the beneficiary of a grant for new lighting at their hallowed Jubilee Oval in Boggabri.
Narrabri might be seeking some funds of their own after a major storm swept through town last weekend, ripping the Blues’ ground to pieces. Boggabri was to play the Blues in a trial match but the game was abandoned after news of the storm surfaced.
In a change this season second division will revert to a combined, all-in-one competition, after playing last year in a split tier format.
Haire preferred the inclusive set-up to reduce the numerous bye rounds and “stop-start” nature of the dual competition.
Boggabri still has a few positions remaining in the men’s side and called on anyone interested in a game to attend training Tuesday or Thursday from 6.30pm.
Women are also encouraged to sign up for the Roos’ league-tag side which is seeking more players.