Tumut co-coach Dean Bristow is hoping some new additions and a strong trial showing will be a big boost heading into the 2018 season.
The Blues had a trial against Canberra Raiders Cup club Belconnen United Sharks on Saturday with Bristow pleased with how the team went despite going down by a try.
“It was very, very pleasing,” Bristow said.
“I couldn’t have been happier.
“We coughed up a bit of ball there early in the first third and put under a bit of pressure but they didn’t crack us.
“We didn’t have many opportunities in the first third but got a bit of good ball in there at the start of the second one and scored a couple of good tries.”
The Blues finished third last season but have had a lot more losses than gains over the off-season.
Coach Jarrad Teka moved to Yass, taking Jake McGrath and Jacob Toppin with him, while best and fairest winner Tamati Ioane departed alongside with a raft of recruits from last season.
However the Blues picked up halfback Jordan Anderson from Tumbarumba while former captain-coach Matt Free is back on board as well.
Both took part in the trial.
“He (Anderson) went really well,” Bristow said.
“It was his first hit out with us.”
Bristow also thought Free made a big difference in the centres.
Tumut host George Tooke Shield side Gunning in a trial on Friday.
Meanwhile there were some good performances by Group Nine clubs at the West Belconnen Nines on the weekend.
With Joel Monaghan joining the fold the Thunder made it through to the semi-finals before being knocked out by West Belconnen 24-4.
The Thunder defeated Temora 36-14 in the quarter-finals and beat Goulburn Workers 12-4 and Gungahlin Bulls 34-10 in pool matches.
“Overall, I was happy,” coach Adrian Purtell said.
“Everyone had a real crack.
“It was hard with only nine on the field and in the end we just ran out of bodies.”
While unavailable due to work commitments, Dragons captain-coach Sam Elwin was also impressed by how his team fared.
Missing a number of their best players including Kris Rands and new recruit Yoan Veve, the first year coach thought it was just what the young Temora outfit needed.
“That type of footy definitely suited us and that’s why I made sure we played,” Elwin said.
“That is the way we are going to have to play this year – throwing the ball around a bit.
“I thought it was going to be a good start for us and is was. It was good to see.”