NEW Turvey Park coach Mitch Sykes insists there is no pressure on the new-look Bulldogs as they look to end a 36-game losing streak on Saturday.
A new era will get underway at Maher Oval when Turvey Park host Narrandera in their Riverina League season opener.
Sykes’ appointment last August led the way for a revival at Turvey Park with upwards of 15 new and returning players arriving.
Turvey Park’s last win came back in July 2014, ironically with a four-point win over Narrandera.
Sykes says he is not feeling any pressure ahead of Saturday’s big game.
“I certainly don’t feel it. The only pressure I get is the pressure I put on myself,” Sykes said.
“I know it’s an old cliche, but we’re just going through the processes and steps, and as long as we’re competitive from the first bounce, I’ll be happy.
“All that hard work we’ve done through the pre-season, we’ve got to put into practice. Coming into the season I don’t feel any pressure from the outside.”
Sykes said instead there is a buzz around Turvey Park.
“We’re excited, there is a huge buzz,” he said.
“It’s been there for the last couple of weeks, a very big buzz around the whole club really and we’re looking forward to it.”
Sykes said the 36-game losing streak has not been mentioned at Maher Oval this week, and will not be.
“There are lots of stats and they don’t really mean anything,” he said.
“It’s a totally different group. I know Turvey has struggled a lot the last couple of years, but it’s a new group, a different vibe and plenty of enthusiasm.
“As a playing group, (the losing streak) definitely won’t be coming up at training.”
At the selection table, there is good and bad news at Turvey Park.
Talented ruckman Evan Smith will play against Narrandera, as one of three games before he heads overseas.
Truman Carroll is free to play, through some clever management from the Bulldogs.
Carroll was suspended for two games in last year’s Ovens and Murray League grand final but the Bulldogs ‘beat the system’ by not submitting his clearance until last week, meaning he served the two games at his old club, Lavington.
The bad news is that Sykes will miss Saturday’s game after injuring his quad at training last week. His brother Jeremy is overseas, while Myles Carroll is also out with a back injury.
As for Narrandera, Sykes is unsure what to expect.
“They would expect to beat us, just like we expect to beat them,” he said.