A PROP who was once the most damaging ball runner in Western Women's Rugby League, a playmaker who has earned NSW Country selection - they are just two of the key recruits the Panorama Platypi Opens are set to reveal this season.
When the Western Women's Rugby League spring season kicks off on the weekend of September 24-25, the Platypi will for the first time carry with them the mantle of defending premiers.
Coach Kevin Grimshaw is well aware that comes with added pressure, but as always he has faith in the playing group he calls 'My girls'.
"It does mean a bit of pressure, what it does it puts a mark on your forehead, everyone knows that you're the current champion, they do lift against you," he said.
"We are not going in under the radar like we are last year, that's for sure.
"But they're a really good bunch of girls and they're all keen as mustard.
"I think 90 percent of them are coming back, obviously Claudia [McLaren] is in Brisbane, I've put a phone call in to her and I'm waiting for a reply," Grimshaw added with a laugh.
As much as Grimshaw is excited to have returning players like hooker-skipper Zarlia Griffiths, he's just as excited about some new faces.
One of them is a former Platypi in prop Haylee Leapio. Four years ago she played for Group 10, Western and Country Rugby League's Southern side.
That sort of experience, as well as her height and strength, would make her a major asset for the Platypi.
After he had success doing so last season, Grimshaw has also looked to the Bathurst Bulldogs women's rugby union side for potential recruits.
He's found some including 2022 NSW Country Corella Tegan Miller, a talented five-eighth who has both a strong passing and kicking game.
"I think Haylee Lepaio is going to play again, she was at training in the rain last Friday," Grimshaw said.
"Tegan Miller is going to play and another of the Bulldogs, Paris Campion, she's playing.
"I think she'll adapt to league easily by the look of it. She wasn't afraid of contact, and when it's like that they tend to be pretty good.
"I've also got a winger from Bulldogs Tiana Anderson, she's keen to have a run, very keen actually."
Grimshaw himself is just as excited as his players for the upcoming season. He expects his squad will number around the 23-24 player mark.
"When we had our first training run last Friday, I had about 14 girls there and it was absolutely belting down rain but not one of them complained," he said.
"I had Kurt Hancock up there and he had them on the ground wrestling and that sort of stuff and they loved it.
"Once the girls get into the contact, they love it as much as the guys.
"That's what makes it easier for me, when the girls are keen to do things. The enthusiasm of these girls is really good."
The opening round will be a rematch of last season's grand final as the Platypi face Woodbridge. That will be in Grenfell on September 25.
Their first of four home games in the eight-round competition will be the following week when the Platypi host Castlereagh at Carrington Park.
The Orange Vipers, Midwest Brumbies and Wiradjuri Goannas are the other sides which will contest the open division.
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