Branighan’s Oberon Tigers are in knockout preparation

STORMS might have delayed the start of the Oberon Tigers’ pre-season training on Tuesday but it won’t be long before the team’s West Wyalong Knockout preparation thunders into top gear.

After a promising off-season of signings many Group 10 premier league fans will be eager to see how much damage the exciting Tigers lineup can inflict.

LEADER: Luke Branighan sends the ball long for the Oberon Tigers. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

LEADER: Luke Branighan sends the ball long for the Oberon Tigers. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

“We’ll be going to West Wyalong with the intention of winning, but there’s going to be plenty of quality teams there,” Tigers player-coach Luke Branighan said.

“There’s always strong teams from Group 9, 10, 11, around Canberra and other competitions.”

Tigers’ off-season signings are set to help the club both on and off the field.

“Josh Starling needs no introduction. On the field he’ll be very good for us because he can play big minutes, which takes the pressure off me, and he’ll have a big impact on the mentoring side of things as well,” Branighan said of the prop who arrives at Oberon from the Newcastle Knights.

“With Mick Hawkins there’s not as much talk about him in Group 10 circles but I think that will change by the end of the year. He’s an older player now but still super fit and one of the toughest blokes I’ve played with.

“This is the fourth club Ben McAlpine and I will play together at. We always seem to strike up good combinations on the field, whether it was at Sydney, England, Group 9 and hopefully now here in Group 10.”

However, Branighan was quick to point out the importance of the home town players to the club.

“All our local boys are back again which is good to see. I know a few of them were being chased by other clubs and I’m so happy to see willing to back up for us again,” he said.

“Although we’ve signed some great players it all starts and ends with these guys. That home support is what drew me to this club in the first place.

“We’ve lost some strong players too. Matty Wakefield has gone to Merimbula. Michael Ingwersen and Trent Rose have gone and Cody Godden went back to Lithgow.

“We offered them all contracts but they’ve left for different reasons.

“They’re all fantastic blokes and I wish them all the best for the future.”