Reason to be scared: Groves

THE scoreline might have blown out against Easts Magpies last weekend, but bush footy bandits Avondale Tigers showed enough to instil fear into tomorrow’s opponents, Wests Panthers.

The Northern Districts Rugby League team traded blows with Easts early, before big guns Matt Tanner and Josh Garden entered the fray.

But Tigers coach Brian Groves could not care less.

“We’ve obviously done enough to worry both teams, because they ended up playing their top side and Wests look like doing the same now,” he said.

Wests player Joe Szegfu did not guarantee that fact.

“If we decide to head to the Mundubbera Clash for Cash next week we’ll probably play a second-string side,” he said.

“We’d use it then more like an internal trial, give those other lads a chance to push their case for A-grade.”

Regardless of that fact, Wests know they will be up against a fit, fast and energetic young team, based on last week’s performance.

It is the second round of the pre-season battle dubbed the City v Country series, and should give both teams a taste of different rugby league.

“Easts were very flamboyant. They used a lot of flair,” Groves said.

“Wests are all about defence, so that gives us a crack at two opposing styles.”

It will help both clubs mould their top squad for this month’s opening round.

Neither team is settled on line-ups but both have earmarked this year as one for big changes.

“We’ve got a whole new committee in, plus new coach Nathan Tanner,” Szegfu said.

“There is a really good feeling around the club this season.”

Corey and Josh Tanner have returned to the Panthers this season, while their barnstorming under-18s show no signs of letting up after years of dominance.

With all this in mind, coach Tanner is gunning for a flying start in the first five weeks of the season.

Szegfu joked that he would reluctantly sit on the bench and watch the new blood do their thing.

“My glory days are well and truly over,” he said. “But it should be a good spectacle and a bit of a treat for everyone to watch the bush boys against the BRL boys.”

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