For all the stories about O Week at universities, does anyone ever talk about what really matters? That it marks the turning point in the pre-season for Charles Sturt University Bushpigs.
Amid the orientation events and introduction to uni life, the Bushpigs wait with bated breath at Pig Park.
“It’s probably been two months we’ve been training but it’s still a bit of a mystery as to what will be brought by the new guys coming through,” CSU coach Pat Noonan said.
“There’s been an influx (of players) this week and hopefully even more next week after O Week finishes, especially for the first year students.
“But with our new recruits we’ve picked up, I’m really optimistic about how we’re travelling.”
The Bushpigs are rapt to have locked in another four new faces.
Forward/midfielder Nick Wright has played three seasons of seniors at Culcairn, while Will Thorp has been at Wangaratta Rovers in the Ovens and Murray League, where he spent last year between seniors and reserve grade.
Will Stewart is a tall who comes to the club from South Coast grand finalists Kiama while Jack Vogan is another versatile option, joining the Bushpigs from Tumbarumba, but with 60 goals to his name as a forward with Bathurst Bushrangers in the Central West League in 2016.
“Brayden’s been awesome… he’s taken on a real leadership role within the group as assistant coach,” Noonan said, adding that Stapleton has been travelling to train with the club a number of times before moving to Wagga for university.
CSU have scheduled three practice matches, beginning on March 17.
“We play in four weeks, against (Tallangatta League club) Wodonga Saints,” Noonan said. “I keep saying that to the boys… it’s happening. Four weeks time. That’ll be the big test of whether we’ve been working on the right things and whether what we’ve been working on is coming through.”
Noonan said he’s not trying to reinvent a game plan as much as build on the work of predecessor Daniel Athanitis.
“Defensive pressure I think is our main thing for this year,” he said. “I think Dan had some really good processes in place the last couple of years and it’s just building on those.”
That includes ‘speed and spread’ as CSU aim to become finals contenders.
With the bye first up, their season will begin at home to premiers Marrar on April 21.