"WE'RE definitely up for it, we'll definitely compete."
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
That is the message that new CSU Mungoes coach Kurt Norton has issued ahead of his club making its debut in the Woodbridge Cup competition.
Having won two premierships and qualified for five grand finals across the past five seasons, the Mungoes held the status of Mid West Cup heavyweight.
However, with not enough clubs to form a Mid West League competition in 2022, CSU has made the switch to the Woodbridge Cup premiership.
It's a move which means that other clubs are being talked about as premiership favourites ahead of the Mungoes.
Norton admits that feels a little odd, but it's something that doesn't bother him. He still has faith in his Mungoes.
"It's a higher class comp than I think a lot of people realise, there are some good quality players in Woodbridge teams, but I think we're definitely up for it, we'll definitely compete," Norton said.
"I think we'll do a lot better than a lot of people probably think we will.
"I think it's probably not bad we've gone under the radar and are probably going to be underdogs, it will take the pressure off.
"But we've got some really talented boys turn up this year and lot of committed people too who have been with the club for a few years, they really leave it all out on the field."
Season 2022 marks Norton's second as a Mungoe and his coaching debut, taking over from Callum Flanagan.
But his league background dates back further, having come through the ranks in Group 10 with St Pat's. He played his first premier league game for the Saints in 2017 at fullback.
"I played for Pat's pretty much all my life, I played for Pat's since I was eight. I had a couple of years off, I stopped playing with Pat's, then wanted to get back into it and there were a couple of people I worked with that played up there at uni," he said.
"So I thought I'd give it a go and it went well, aside from busting my knee last year of course.
"Coaching, it's a new thing. They didn't have a coach this year, so I thought I'd see how I'd go.
"I have only been there for a short time, but it feels like a long time also. It's been good, it's a really good club to be a part of.
Give Norton "completely ruptured" his ACL, he will stick to the sideline this year rather than being a player-coach.
He's been pleased with what he has witnessed at training and in a recent trial match against his former club, the Mungoes beating a Saints outfit made up of under 21 and reserve grade players 28-10.
"It was actually good too see them. You can train as hard as you want and build your fitness, but you'll never be really ready until you step on that field and get some match fitness," Norton said.
"I was happy with how we defended and how we attacked, we've put our best foot forward for the start of the season."
The season starts the weekend of April 23-24, CSU facing an away trip to play Grenfell before hosting Eugowra in round two.
"I think everyone is excited coming into a bigger comp and having a bit more of a challenge," the coach said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.