Northern Pride get down to business
NORTHERN Pride coach Jason Demetriou says every player in his squad will be given equal opportunity to press for spots in his round one side during the club's preseason trial schedule.The Pride play their first warm-up match against a composite Cowboys senior/under-20s side on February 16 at Barlow Park before taking on a team from Papua New Guinea the following week, also in the Far North, and Intrust Super Cup rivals the Mackay Cutters in Ayr on the weekend of March 2.
Demetriou took his players to Trinity Beach on Monday for their first official training run of 2013 after a two-week respite, focusing on speed and agility work on the sand near Earl Hill.
Before the session started, Demetriou was confident the Pride would pick up where they left off before Christmas.
"We did some testing prior to the Christmas break and all the players had improved (from the start of preseason) and we did some this morning as well just to make sure they maintained where they were during the break," the first-year coach said.
"Although we had a break there were still some sessions they were expected to do in that time and all of them have come back just as strong as when they left.
"The attitude of the players has been first class since I got here and that was an example of it."
Demetriou has set high standards for professionalism at the club and will monitorhis players' attitudes as much as their physical performances during the trial games.
Anybody caught going through the motions will find themselves watching from the sidelines in round one.
"It (the preseason) is about experimenting with different combinations, but from a player's point of view I always say to my players that it's not a trial, it's an opportunity to stake a claim for the start of the season and be one of the first 17 to wear a Pride shirt at the start of the year," Demetriou said.
"And once you've got it, it's yours to lose really.
"If you slip in preparation and performances in the preseason games and aren't up to scratch, you leave yourself behind the eight ball as an individual.
"It's important that you come with a good attitude and really rip in those preseason games."
Depth appears to be a major strength for the Pride this season, with Demetriou luring the likes of playmaker Sam Obst, second-rower Steve Snitch and winger Semi Tadulala from England to reinforce what was already a strong roster.
What combinations Demetriou goes with for round one against the Cutters on March 16 remains to be seen, but the former English Super League player said everyone would be given a chance to impress.
"It's important everybody gets an opportunity in the preseason and feels like they had an equal chance to stake a claim for a starting spot," he said.
"It's about giving everybody equal opportunity regardless of who they are or how young they are."
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Listen up!: Pride coach Jason Demetriou lays down the law at the team's training on Trinity Beach. Picture: STEWART McLEAN