The Macleay Valley Mustangs are set to enter the Group 3 regular season with just 60 minutes of game time under their belts.
They have their first pre-season hitout on Saturday, facing the Port Macquarie Breakers in two 30 minute halves but first grade coach Dean Ritchie believes the side will be able to overcome the lack of match fitness.
“We have had a long pre-season and trained really hard,” Ritchie said.
“A lot of the boys are naturally fit and will play really well, but we would have benefited from extra trial matches.”
The Mustangs had a scheduled match against the Macksville Sea Eagles cancelled and Saturday’s meeting with the Port Macquarie Sharks was called off due to the weather.
“The two games we have had cancelled has just made the boys more keen to get on the field,” Ritchie said.
“Hopefully the weather doesn’t give us another setback this weekend.”
The Group 3 regular season begins on Saturday April 8 and the Mustangs will use the final weekend before the campaign starts to rest.
Ritchie acknowledges it isn’t an ideal preparation but recognises the length of the season will help him get his side firing at the right time of the year.
“You don’t win a comp at the start of the year,” Ritchie said.
“There is a long time between now and the end of the season and I don’t expect a lack of fitness to be costly.”
The Mustangs face the Wauchope Blues on their home ground at Verge Street in round 1.