Moruya Sharks hit the paddock for 2016
Batemans Bay Post
The Moruya Sharks begin their premiership defence this Saturday evening when they take on the Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs at the Pambula Sporting Complex.
The Sharks have undergone off season changes due to the retirement of Pat McMahon and Billy Halligan along with Matty Jones moving away from the area.
Others missing the start of the season are Dean Scott after knee surgery, along with captain–coach Tim Weyman, who has still to fully recover from a broken
leg suffered in a work accident mid way through last season.
A hamstring strain suffered in the nines tournament will keep classy playmaker Jake Clarke sidelined for a few weeks.
Making his debut for the Sharks will be big, hard running centre Vinney Marino, who has moved to the coast after playing in the Canberra competition.
Also having his first competition game for the Sharks will be young forward Alex Stewart, moving from Harden to have a run with his cousins Tim and Michael Weyman.
Returning to the Sharks in 2016 after a year away, also in the Canberra competition, will be classy utility player Justin Bell, a capable addition to the squad.
David Gwynne will return after two years away from the game, looking for his second premiership with the club.
Also returning after a year with the Bay Tigers is exciting half back Jacob Hill, who will get plenty of opportunities in the top grade in 2016.
One of the good news stories coming out of this year for the Sharks is the return of crowd favourite and one of the toughest players to wear the Sharks colours in recent years, Joel Pietsch, returning after a knee operation.
Other top grade places will be filled by the clubs exciting new breed coming out of the juniors, including Hayden Murray, Jacob Zutt, Cohen McGrath and Chris O’Meley all who had a taste of the top grade in 2015.
With the bulk of the squad in tact from 2015, the start of the 2016 season will showcase a forward pack which boasts quality players such as Shane Colebrook, Dillon Johnstone, Jacob Hope-Hodgetts, Luke Jay, Aaron Brierley and Michael Weyman.
Add to this the power and flair of the Sharks regular backline with the likes of Dennis Green, Jermaine Connolly, Caine Brierley and Shaun Staples, the Sharks will certainly prove hard to stop in their bid for back to back premierships.
The first grade game kicks off at 6pm with the sharks first grade squad:
1. Dennis Green, 2. Jermaine Connolly, 3. Caine Brierley, 4. Vinney Marino, 5. Shaun Staples, 6. Justin Bell, 7 Joel Pietsch, 8. Shane Colebrook, 9. Luke Jay, 10. Michael Weyman, 11. Dillon Johnstone, 12. Alex Stewart, 13. Aaron Brierley, 14. Hayden Murray, 15. Jock McNaughton, 16. Chris O’Meley, 17. David Gwynne.
The reserves will also be defending their 2015 premiership when the play in the Grand Final rematch against Candello-Bemboka on the weekend.
With Coach Mick Cottington again at the helm, the reserve grade side should be a similar outfit that kept the crowds entertained and enthralled throughout 2015.
The big news for the reserve grade sharks is the inclusion of Joey Brierley along side big brother Mervyn. The two were opposing captains last year with Joey playing for Batemans Bay. This year sees the brothers coming together in what should prove a formidable and winning combination.
The other big news for the reserves is the return of both Mick and Warren Potts to start alongside younger brother Troy in the squad. The brothers bring plenty of experience along with talent and class and should form a lethal combination with the Brierley Boys.
Reserve grade kick-off is at 3.30pm, and should provide on of the matches of the round.
The girls have a new coach in Shaun Pike, who is bringing plenty of enthusiasm and ideas to the side.
There are lots of regular faces at training along with a few new girls, who Shaun will have the opportunity to mould into a formidable combination.
The girls will be tested on the weekend when they play twice, firstly against the Candelo-Bemboka side and then backing up against the Merimbula-Pambula girls.
The games are at 1pm and 5pm to allow the Sharkettes plenty of recovery time between the clashes. The two game should allow the coaching staff plenty of opportunity to give everyone a run and assess their skills.
The under 18s are under the watchful eye of Dan Thurlow in 2016 and while numbers are encouraging, there is still room for more players to fill the roster.
Dan has an enthusiastic and talented squad at his disposal and he will be able to mould them into a strong combination.
The under 18s were grand finalists against the strong Bega outfit in 2015, and it is hoped that the boys can go one better in 2016.
Under 18s kick-off at 2pm.