Four Bega Valley league players are gearing up for another NRL season.
Dale Finucane, Adam Elliott, Euan Aitken and Morgan Boyle have been busily working through pre-season and trial matches for the Storm, Bulldogs, Dragons and Titans respectively.
Pambula’s Aitken and Tathra’s Elliott have both had injury concerns in the past season, but are working past it and becoming recognised as some of the strongest contributors in their respective clubs.
Elliott said the team was really sticking in at pre-season training, especially in terms of cardio fitness with extended running sessions.
“We’re really chirping out a few ks,” Elliott told Bulldogs media. “Everyone’s been putting it together and I’m starting to form some bonds with the new boys.
“It’s been great to see the boys ripping in.”
Elliott has quickly found himself as a key outside back for the Bulldogs, while Aitken has gone to extremes over the off-season, taking an epidural to counter nagging hamstring concerns as well as a shoulder reconstruction.
But he’s back on the park.
Meanwhile, Finucane is heralded as one of the best forwards in the game and will no doubt be in the minds of NSW Blues selectors again this year after getting a shadow call up in 2017.
Finucane had a standout year with the Storm and broke his NRL grand final drought after four appearances in the big show.
He’s also stepping into leadership roles with the club alongside Jesse Bromwich.
Then there is Cobargo’s Morgan Boyle, returning for his second season in the top grade.
Boyle hoped to make a debut last season, but never expected he would take the field for almost half the year.
He debuted in round 6 against the Raiders, but went on to appear 15 times at the top level for the Titans and was named the club’s ‘Rookie of the Year’.
"I thought I'd play five max and was hoping to get at least one game this year," Boyle said. "Obviously with the injury toll it opened the door and i got to play a lot more.
"I definitely trained my hardest in the pre-season but I still had that little bit of doubt if I was ready. Everyone around has helped."
The 21-year-old has been renowned for his fitness and will look to return for 2018 with a similar focus.
"I'll look to come back at around 111kg and then hope to put on a few more kilos in the pre-season."
The Cobargo junior spent time in the middle and on the edge this year but sees himself in and around the big men in the future.
"I probably feel more comfortable in the middle but I'll hopefully still train a little on the edge.
“It'll give me a bit of versatility."