Marlins chasing early season momentum
RUGBY UNION: The Southern Cross University Marlins are itching to get back on the field and are ready to secure their first competition points this weekend.
The Marlins are coming off a two-week break and have only played the one game this season, an opening round loss to the Port Macquarie Pirates.
Marlins captain-coach AJ Gilbert said it was frustrating not being able to build momentum straight off the back of round one.
"We've almost had another mini pre-season these last few weeks,” Gilbert said.
"We had such a big build up to that opening match; we had two trial games pulled on us for different reasons and we had worked really hard all off-season.
"I was really happy with how we played against the Pirates, I don't think the scoreline reflected how we went and the chances we were able to create.
"We need to try and build on that game moving forward.”
The competition gets even stiffer on Saturday, as the Marlins meet the undefeated Hastings Valley Vikings.
"They're pretty strong across the whole park,” Gilbert said.
"They've been in the past four or five grand finals so that shows how consistent they are. They have a big forward pack with plenty of experience we'll have to nullify and they have flare in their backs.
"We just have to try and stick to our shape and our patterns and back our fitness. Defensively we have to be strong and limit their opportunities to score.”
Five of the Marlins next seven games are at home and Gilbert knows they'll need to bank as many wins as possible in that stretch.
"We have to get the season off to a good start and capitalise on these home games. We don't want to get to the end of the season and be adding up points trying to work out what we have to do to finish where we want to.
"So we really have to set the tone these next few games. It's important not just for the team but the whole club moving forward.”
The Marlins v Vikings game commences at 3pm Saturday at Southern Cross University.