Marrar assistant coach Cal Gardner is happy to have made it back on the paddock in time for the Farrer League's ANZAC Challenge at Langtry Oval on Saturday.
A hamstring injury in the pre-season delayed Gardner's start to the season a few weeks but he will be an important inclusion for the Bombers against The Rock-Yerong Creek.
Both teams have been touted as leading premiership contenders this year but experienced slight round one hiccups before bouncing back with impressive wins in round two.
Gardner has been at Marrar for the best part of a decade now and knows that the Magpies always prove tough opponents, especially in this annual fixture.
"I know that they recruited fairly well in the off-season," Gardner said of TRYC.
"Obviously both clubs have only played two games so far so it's a bit hard to judge but no matter where both of our teams are at, this ANZAC Challenge is always a close one because everyone's up and about for it.
"It obviously means a lot to play in this game. We get a good crowd there and it's good that the ex-serviceman come along as well. Sparks (Shane Lenon) often touches on ANZAC Day and what it means to us as Australians so that gets us up and about."
Gardner admits there is a clear focus this week for Marrar.
"Obviously we've been letting ourselves down in the first half and jumping out of the blocks not so well," he said.
"So that's certainly a focus for us and something we're going to put an emphasis on and we'll be looking to get that good start."
MORE SPORT NEWS
Marrar trailed by 29 points at half-time against East Wagga-Kooringal in round one before a Reid Gordon goal after the siren snatched a draw.
The Bombers then found themselves down by 41 points against North Wagga a week later but stormed home for a 20-point win.
Gardner is looking forward to returning to the Marrar team, having played just four games over the past two seasons.
"I haven't played much at all over the last couple of years," he said.
"There was the COVID year and then last year, I didn't get back until halfway through the year and then I had my hamstring injury last year as well.
"My last full season was a very, very long time ago so I'm keen to get back out there."
Gardner also expects to take on a new role this season.
"I'd say I'll be playing down forward," he said.
"I think in terms of team balance, when you look at our team, we've got a lot of people who can go through the midfield so I'd say I will be spending the majority of my time up forward.
"When I was playing midfield, I was changing up forward as well, so I've had plenty of experience and time up there so it should be okay."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.