The Wentworthville Magpies Intrust Super Premiership NSW side will take on the Wyong Roos on Sunday 6 March at Ringrose Park to kick off their 2016 campaign, and we caught up with Head Coach Joey Grima heading into their season opener.
Grima has named his side for the season opener, with Cody Nelson honoured with the captaincy whilst new recruits Scott Schulte, Honeti Tuha, Mitch Cornish, Rory O’Brien, Cameron King and Matt Woods will make their premiership debut with the Magpies.
Heading into their Round One clash, Grima has been impressed with the side's past four months of pre-season training and pre-season trials.
"I have been happy on two fronts. I have been happy with the fact we have competed in a couple of trials without any serious injuries and I can just see the boys coming together collectively as a group showing the same hunger and willingness together to get the job done." Grima said.
"We were going up to Newcastle [in our pre-season trial], taking on last year's Premiers and we primarily had a semi-professional side, not fulltime training, and we went up there and were lucky enough to play the way we wanted to play and came away with a win."
"I was pleased we went up there to take on a side that featured so well in 2015 but to come back out of the game without any injuries was a double bonus for us." Grima added.
The Wentworthville Magpies squad features a handful of players who have been training with the Eels First Grade squad all pre-season, and Grima said the coaching structure across all grades had benefited his side.
"One of the beauties about being in this program, myself and Luke Burt, our programs run consistently with the NRL program to ensure we have continuity," Grima said.
"In the event Brad Arthur wants/needs, or an Under 20s player comes through into NSW Cup, they can transition without any problems. It has featured so heavily in our program, that what they are doing in First Grade, is being mirrored in Cup and equally in the Under 20s program."
"That was probably the greatest evidence of the programs working [the Penrith trial game] successfully as they have been."
Kicking off the season against the Wyong Roos, Grima is looking forward to a tough contest against a talented side.
"Wyong are a very good side in their own right. They are a feeder club to the Roosters so their talent is going to be quite evident," Grima said.
"They are coached by Rip Taylor, who I worked closely with, and I know he has been a very successful coach, so there is no doubt they will have the personnel in a very difficult but enjoyable first game."
Kick off is at 3pm on Snday 6 March.