More home games for Southland Rams
Southland Rams coach Greg Dawson believes three home games this season in Invercargill could spur his team to more success in the South Island provincial league competition.
Dawson named an extended squad of 34 players yesterday to meet for their first official training session tomorrow night with the coach keen to get preparation into full flight.
The Rams will play three of their four competition games in Invercargill , two of them at Rugby Park.
Their first game is set for the Les George Oval near Invercargill on August 13 before they take on the West Coast in Greymouth on August 23.
Then, at Rugby Park, they will play Canterbury on September 6 and Tasman on September 13.
Dawson said the draw was certainly appealing.
"It's a big advantage to us. It is a great incentive to play at Rugby Park in front of your home crowd and family and friends. Getting to the airport and getting away from the families is always tough in the amateur level we play at so hopefully there is some good incentives there for the players," he said.
Southland progressed to the South Island final last year before being knocked over by Canterbury 36-14 in the decider.
Dawson was hopeful they would take another step up this year and said much of that would be down to what they did at training.
"It's a good-sized squad we've named and we're always going to leave the door open for others as well. I think we just need to build on our skill level and lift it to another level, and the fitness as well. The boys have been playing local league week in, week out but this is going to be another level."
Southland District Rugby League have struggled financially to have a team in the South Island competition in recent seasons but Road Safety Southland have again stepped in this year to sponsor the Rams and help fund the campaign.
SOUTHLAND RAMS SQUAD: (He Tauaa) Lucas Pikia, Pua Kuresa, Javaan Fa'amoe-Ioane, Jayleel Fa'amoe-Ioane, Chez Cameron, Brayden Symon, Willie Pera, Robert Peseta, Omeka Raimona, Rocky Pettigrew. (Cooks), Maka Mohi, Chee Turuwhenua, Eddie Hei Hei, Kaza Neilson, Rahui Taia, Materu Tupou, Ethan Ramage. (Cowboys) Daniel Low, Tuki Hiko, Korey Pennicott, Aaron Carson, Dylan Lovett, Daniel Clarke, Josh Gough, Kurt McClutchie, Taina Tamou, Pehi Tewhare, Nathan Anderson. (Winton) Matthew Low, James Matheson, James Ratema, Sam Stewart, Jordan Stewart, Jesse Gush.
*The squad is to meet at the Turnbull Thomson grounds at 6.30pm tomorrow.
The Southland Times