Southern Districts 2016 Season Preview – With Matt Barr

Last year: 3rd (62pts)

Ins: Sean Doyle (Brumbies), Rohan Saifolo (New Zealand), Oleni Ngungutau (returning), Angus Ryan (Brisbane), Alex Perez (Brisbane), Chris Nay (Parramatta), Mitch Walton (Norths).


Outs: Ben Volavola (Brumbies), Cameron Betham (France), Paul Asquith (Melbourne Rebels), Alex Gibbon (Brisbane), Afa Pakalani (France).

Captain: Marcus Carbone

Overview – With Matt Barr

“Last year we were really happy with our consistency so that is something the 2016 group are really keen to continue. There are no guarantees in rugby, but if you can make the top four, then you are always in a pretty good position to have a run at the title. In saying that, we’ve lost a fair few handy players so we will need guys to step up and fill that void.

“We’ve got Rohan Saifolo back after a few years overseas. Before he left I think he was one of the best players in the competition and I think he would have picked up a few things and worked on certain areas of his game over the last few years, so we are expecting him to come back bigger and better. The addition of Sean Doyle will obviously be really good for the club. He’ll play alongside Marcus Carbone in the backrow, so our forward pack is something we are fairly excited about. It’s an area where we try and dominate other sides. ”

Improvements

“If you go back to that semi final against Eastwood when we gave up that big lead, we defended really well around the park, but our work at the breakdown wasn’t good enough. That’s an area where we can be smarter. It certainly cost us a number of times last year. We’ve worked really hard  on that through the preseason.

“Our ball usage as well, we want to control the ball for longer phases of the game. We know what we can do when we’ve got the ball, so we’ve got to try and hold onto it for as long as possible.”

Player(s) to watch

“We’ve got a number of young exciting outside backs that will get an opportunity to cover the likes of Paul Asquith and Alex Gibbon. Jono Brown is a young guy with a lot of potential. He’s had a little bit of first grade experience a couple of years ago but missed last year through injury. We also saw Matt Teki in the first six weeks of last season and he certainly showed us what he could do.”

Hopes/Expectations

“I think the goal is to try and get in that top four, if we can do that then we can give it a good crack. I’ve been around a few years now and I know how hard this competition is to win, you need a lot of things to go your way at the right time of the year.”