An “exciting” new season for the Dubbo Rhinos begins this weekend with a trip to the state’s north coast.
The Rhinos travel to the Forster region for a three-way trial day as things build towards a campaign in the new-look Central West Rugby Union second tier competition.
Also adding to the excitement around the Rhinos is the fact the club is working to re-build its women’s side and there have been promising numbers at pre-season training.
“Historically, our women’s team has been quite successful so it would be great to get and then keep a side for many years to come,” club president Ian Burns said.
“These young girls we’ve seen are really positive and want to play so that’s a good start.”
While the women are still working towards getting a team on the field, the men will be in action on Saturday.
Like they have in recent years, the Rhinos will again take on the Nambiac Walamba Bulls while another clash with the Port Macquarie Pirates has also been touted.
All this comes after some Rhinos players had a hit-out at the weekend’s Dubbo Rugby Sevens at Apex Oval.
“Port Macquarie might be unavailable though but hopefully we’ll be playing another team from their competition,” Burns added, before speaking about his club’s pre-season.
“To be honest, we’ve been a light on at training and we’d really like another eight or 10 blokes going but realistically the numbers are there and each session there’s five or six who weren’t at the last session.
“It’s just the way it is now though. People seem to leave their training to the last minute.
“But we are really excited for the season.”
The Rhinos will contest the second tier along with CSU Bathurst, Parkes Boars, Mudgee Wombats, Narromine Gorillas and Blayney Rams.
“We’d been pushing for a split competition for about four or five years so for it to finally happen is fantastic,” he said.
“Ultimately the split is the best outcome for all involved.
“I’m excited to play Narromine again, they’re an awesome club and from all reports Blayney has got good numbers … those two will be formidable.”
Rhinos stalwart Guy Turner, someone who has been involved with the club for 24 years, is back as coach this season and will work alongside Darren Taylor while the likes of Bruno Efoti, Brett Austin and the returning Doug Sandry will assist those two.
Following on from this weekend, the Rhinos will also have a trial match at Nyngan against the Western Plains representative side.