Calm Kirk ready to roll
COREY Kirk was surprisingly calm this week as he prepared for his first Rugby League Ipswich A-Grade match in charge of the Goodna Eagles.
Having swapped his boots for a whiteboard this season, the multiple premiership-winning halfback said he felt less pressure as a coach than he did as a player in the build-up.
"I was probably a bit more anxious as a player to be honest,” Kirk said ahead of tomorrow's RLI opener against reigning premiers Fassifern.
"As a coach I'm not running on - it's not my own game I need to make sure is in order it's everyone else's, and just making sure we've done everything we need to do to prepare properly.”
An honest Kirk told fans not to expect a flawless performance from the Eagles out of the blocks. But he believes they have shown enough in pre-season to be confident of an opening round win.
"Round one won't be pretty and we know that. I'm just purely looking for effort in these first few rounds, and I have a lot of confidence the boys will give us just that,” he said.
"I don't know too much about the Bombers this season. I know they've lost a couple, they'll be a different looking team, but whoever they've brought in will be ready to go.
"Roosy (Fassifern coach Daniel Roos) seems to be able to get the best out of blokes. Whoever turns up will be ready to go.
"To be honest I haven't done a whole lot of research on the other teams, I've just focused on us and I'm really happy with the squad of boys we have this year.”
Tomorrow's match was originally scheduled to be played at Hayes Oval, but was moved to Goodna.
Kirk was happy to be opening the season in front of the Goodna faithful, instead of making the trip to Harrisville.
"They contacted us two weeks ago asking if we would mind taking the first game, and we didn't have a drama with it at all,” Kirk said.
"It's always a real tough road trip out to Harrisville. I suppose it could have been a positive to get it out of the way nice and early, but I'd rather kick off at home and have a few rounds under our belt before we head out there.”
Kirk said his side's fitness would be the most notable change when compared to previous Goodna teams.
In 2018, the Eagles struggled to run out games in the heat of the early season.
"I had a core group back to work in late November . . . I think our conditioning is where it needs to be this time around,” Kirk said.
As for an early season breakout candidate, Kirk needed little time to offer up a name.
"I tell you who will have a cracker of a year, and that's Zac Lemberg,” the coach said.
"He's as fit as I've seen him in years. He's very settled at the moment and really champing at the bit to get out there. I'm tipping him to have a massive season.”
In tomorrow's other fixture, Swifts open their centenary season at home to the returning Redbank Plains Bears at Purga. Before then, West End host Brothers at Daniel's Park tonight.
Rugby League Ipswich A-Grade Round 1
Tomorrow (3pm) - Goodna Eagles v Fassifern Bombers at Woogaroo Field