BACK IN ACTION: Monto Roos coach Mat Dahtler and club president Damien Zieth, who has strapped on the boots for this season also.
BACK IN ACTION: Monto Roos coach Mat Dahtler and club president Damien Zieth, who has strapped on the boots for this season also. Felicity Ripper

Roos ready to step into unknown

Rugby league: When Monto Roos step on to the field this Saturday to compete in the MacDonald shield against Mundubbera Tigers, it will be their first official game in the Central Burnett competition since 2016.

For coach Mat Dahtler, the match will be a step into the unknown for his team, several of whom have never played rugby league before.

"A few blokes have only played (Australian rules football), a few have a rugby (union) background, so we'll have to see where their strengths and weaknesses are,” Dahtler said.

"We'll know by the end of the first half.

"We've got a much younger side (than 2016).”

The coach hopes the young players inject a joie de vivre, or cheerful joy, in the team.

"All the young fellas seem pretty keen,” he said.

Dahtler said they had been getting about 10-12 players to most training sessions, a number he considers consistent with the unpredictable schedules of the miners and shift workers in the team.

The Roos had had a few team runs at training, he said, but they needed to be blooded in combat.

"You can do all the team runs in the world, it makes a big difference when you actually have another team running at you,” Dahtler said.

He said he thought the match would see a bit of "trial and error” as the Roos figured out their best combination.

"We'll see where people fit in, juggle guys around and go from there,” Dahtler said.

While this is their first competition game of the season, the Roos played in a Round Robin against the Tigers and Gayndah Gladiators in early April.

Although they lost both matches, 0-26 against the Tigers and 14-30 against the Gladiators, the team showed the green shoots of renewal had sprouted in Monto.

Tigers captain Cameron MacDonald said the match had "sentimental value”.

Alan MacDonald, a Roos life member, was his grandfather, and Murray MacDonald, a Tigers life member, was his father.

"I spent a lot of time in Monto as a kid with my grandparents,” MacDonald said.

The Roos are desperate to reclaim the Shield, as it has resided with the Tigers for three long years, after they lost the inaugural encounter 10-46 in Mundubbera.


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