The North Sydney Bears will travel to face the St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday, looking to cap off a strong pre-season before Round 1 of the Intrust Super Premiership.
Coming off the back of an extremely impressive 32-16 victory against the Newcastle Knights, the young Bears are full of confidence heading into their final warm up before the start of the season.
Add to that the inclusion of South Sydney Rabbitohs senior player Vincent Leuluai, who is playing his first match since recovering from shoulder surgery - and the Bears are in shape to finish pre-season on a high.
The strong performance from last week left Head Coach Shane Millard pleasantly surprised and the man in charge couldn’t have been happy with the effort shown by his side.
“It was a great win over Newcastle, we probably had six or seven kids that were 17-18 years-old then the next lot were all 19 years-old and then all the part-timers are 21, so when they first ran out I didn’t know what to expect, but the way they ripped in and competed, which was exceptional.” said Millard.
“All the things that you don’t need lot of skill for, they were very good at and they played some really good footy, got into some good shapes, defended well and got a fantastic result - not only for the Club but also for their confidence.”
With the Bears travelling across the ditch to play the New Zealand Warriors for Round 1, and not playing a home game until Round 4, the game down south is a perfect chance for Millard's side to pick up some away form. It will also be the first time this season the team plays full 40 minute halves.
“This week is the first week we play a full 40 minutes and then another 40 minutes so that will be a bit of challenge for some of them,” Millard explained.
“Some of the young blokes are going to get a chance to stake their claim for Round 1. We have some part timers trying to do the same, and we’ve also got the full-time guys coming down to try and keep their hat in the ring for the NRL.
“We need to train well and get in there with a good attitude and continue improving five percent from where we were the week before. This is really good hit out for us before Round 1.”
St George Illawarra Dragons v North Sydney Bears
When: Sunday 25 February, 4pm Kick off
Where: Ron Constello Oval, Shellharbour
|Head Coach||Shane Millard|