North Sydney Bears Head Coach Shane Millard cannot wait to get stuck into the new footy season following his team's first week of training.
“Everything has been going good at the moment and we couldn’t be happier,” said Millard.
“Everyone is in good shape, they’re training hard and they’re buying into what we are trying to do.
“Everything is here - the gym, the field and, for the guys getting dropped down from first grade, they already feel like they are home.”
With countdown to the start of the 2018 campaign well under way, Norths have been hard at work, focusing hard on getting the nitty gritty right before getting into more technical training.
“We’re just concentrating on the stuff you don’t need talent to be good at it and that’s pressure effort,” said Millard.
“You don’t have to have much skill to have plenty of effort so we are focusing on being good at all the little things and then hopefully that will put ourselves into a position to utilise our talent that we are going to have on the field.”
With many potential Norths players currently working out with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and the Bears taking over the under 20s team, Millard has a bigger pool of players than usual to choose from. He says that’s already raising the standard at training.
“We’ve been back since January 8 and everything has been good,” added Millard. “Pre-Christmas was good as well, we got through some hard work, got some miles into the legs and did some weights in the gym.
“There’s a bit of a new feel to everything with Norths adopting the 20s this year but so far we are undefeated.”
Unable to access North Sydney Oval until the end of the cricket season, the Bears will hit the road for two of their three trial games, with their first hit out just three weeks away. However, once competitive action gets going, there is one game they definitely have their eye on.
“The first one, round one, that’s going be a challenge for us because we face New Zealand in New Zealand,” said Millard.
“We play Wentworthville, Thursday February 8 and then the following Friday we play Newcastle at Redfern and then the following weekend after that we play the Dragons at WIN Stadium.”
In 2018, the Bears will be looking to go one or two better than last season and Millard believes the love he and the team have for the game can get them there.
“I love my footy and to help the young blokes,” he said. “That's what reserve grade is looking like it is going to be now but I enjoy it. It has different challenges and at the end of the day we all play footy cause we love it.”