NSW GPS: Joeys ready for 2019 GPS season with “no clear favourites”
Defending joint GPS champions St Joseph’s will kick start their 2019 season on Saturday against Newington and are preparing for one of the most tightly contested premierships in recent memory.
After sharing the title with Kings in 2018, Joeys have added plenty of depth to their top squad over summer and looked impressive in pre-season wins over both Kings and Scots.
“We’ve played some tough games already and more so than previous years, we’ve looked at a lot of different players and combinations,” Joeys first XV co-coach Tim Anderson told Rugby News.
“We’ve probably got a bit more depth this year than in past seasons.”
Joeys lost just one of six pre-season matches, a 34-26 loss to Knox, and will take plenty of confidence into Saturday’s season opener against Newington.
“We’ve got a few players back from last year which gives the team some experience in key positions.” Anderson said.
“Then we have had a strong group of boys push through into firsts and seconds this year, they are a great group and show plenty of promise.”
Joeys claimed their first title since 2007 in remarkable circumstances late last year, scoring after the full time siren to beat Riverview in a match that was delayed for more than an hour after wind knocked over the goal posts.
While it might be difficult to top the drama of that last gasp win, Anderson said he expects this year’s competition to be just as, if not even tighter than 2019.
“All six schools are capable of winning each week, there aren’t any clear favourites this year and it’ll probably come down to who turns up best on the day and which sides avoid injuries throughout the season,” he said.
Anderson’s side travel to Stanmore on Saturday to take on a Newington outfit coming off three straight wins over Barker, Kinross and St Augustine’s.
“From what I understand, they’ve got a few key players returning from last year and they’ll be strong right across the park and will be a tough opposition, particularly at home.” he said.
In the rounds other matches, Shore host Scots and Riverview play Kings.
“Shore will give Scots a good run for their money, they always stay in the fight until the end,” Anderson said.
“Kings and Riverview will be interesting. I haven’t seen much of Riverview but I’ve heard they’re playing well.
“It’ll be interesting to see the results come Saturday night.”