Norths Tigers under threat
NORTHS Tigers are used to punching above their weight and it looks like they'll have to like never before this season.
The Tigers have had to make do without a home ground since last year's floods, a leagues club and committee suffering as a result and now they have a player exodus to deal with too.
"Depth is the issue at the moment," new co-captain Josh Roberts said matter-of-factly.
Roberts pulls no punches when asked why the club was getting little over 20 players to each training session, across all three grades.
"Laziness and work commitments," he said.
"A lot of them do shift work and the weather doesn't help.
"They're made of sugar."
Which is perhaps not what you want to hear from your skipper a week from the start of the season.
But Roberts is the type to lead by deeds, not words, and his own self-confidence is hard to shake.
"Round one should be good because we've got no injuries," he said.
"We should have a full side.
"How we go after that depends on injuries during the year."
The Tigers have lost the likes of Col Holcombe, Stephen Kafer, Steven West, Cody Fullarton and Aaron Morris, with Jarrod Biggs heading overseas in a month.
"We've got to rely on the young guys to step up," Roberts said.
"We've still got a few things to work on.
"It's pretty much a new-look side."
Roberts will share the captaincy with last year's skipper Dale Robertson, who agrees the young players must take the lead.
"We've got a few younger blokes from last year's under-18s who have stepped up to the mark and some of last year's Reserve grade," he said.
In what he considers his final season of footy, the 85kg former Ipswich Jet will play in his preferred hooker position.
"I've always played out of position," said Robertson who has been used as a backrower by most coaches in recent seasons.
"It's my last season so I'll play where I want to play."
Roberts will play five-eighth with coach Boss Cecil unsure who will partner him in the halves.
Robbie Peters is in contention for either the fullback or halfback spot.
The club is still hoping for a further influx of players, with any new or returning players welcome.
Plans for a return to Keith Sternberg Oval for the start of the season appear to have been thwarted by recent rain so training continues at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.