2018 RLI champions Fassifern are far from concerned about their early form.
2018 RLI champions Fassifern are far from concerned about their early form. Cordell Richardson

Forget early results: Bombers and Bluebirds just building

LOYAL Fassifern coach Daniel Roos is sticking to a proven formula as his injury-hit team braces for a Swifts counterattack at Purga on Sunday.

In his eighth season guiding the side, Roos is relaxed about taking on Swifts in tomorrow's A-Grade clash of the round.

The experienced mentor expects the Bluebirds will have a different attitude at their home ground after suffering a 46-0 loss to Goodna last weekend.

However, he's expecting his team to accept the challenge after a productive pre-season and focus on building up steadily.

"We're always very positive at the start of the year,'' Roos said, having overseen Fassifern's 32-10 premiership victory last year.

"The pre-season has been really good.

"Fassifern always starts slow and that's to do with how we coach them.''

Roos doesn't expect to have a full-strength side until the next few rounds.

His main concern was some early injuries affecting his team, including to his frontline fullback and hookers.

Rake Lemeki Wraight is among those, out for 4-6 weeks after fracturing his arm in the 48-12 first-round loss to Goodna.

Fassifern's other hooker Dan Taber was also sweating on getting a clearance from a shoulder injury.

Fullback Tyrell Woodley is dealing with a hamstring injury.

With seven players returning from last year's grand final success, Roos also has plenty to work on as the Bombers mount another title bid.

"You don't win a grand final in the first couple of rounds,'' he said. "We're just working on what's best for the team and we've got a few new guys . . . (it's seeing) how they play.

"We're happy with the way we've been training.''

Coming off a bye following a first-round loss, the Fassifern coach was cautious about the early results.

"It's always a good game against Swifts but I don't read much into that loss from Swifts either to Goodna,'' he said.

"They are a quality side this year so I'd say they'd be a completely different side this weekend against us, attitude wise.''

Fassifern is being captained this season by halfback Mitchell Range.

Roos has been impressed with the training effort of front rower Mahe Paseka, deputy to Range this season.

"The focus always at the start of the year is defence,'' he said. "Attack you can always work on later.

"Once you get the basics right, then you can building off all that stuff.''

2018 RLI A-Grade Grand Final between Fassifern Bombers and Norths Tigers.
2018 A-Grade champions Fassifern. Cordell Richardson

As for being defending grand final champions, Roos knows what's in store.

"Every team gets up when they play you,'' he said.

"We're pretty much a new team so it's working on how to get the best out of each individual, which is probably the most challenging thing as a coach.''

Swifts coach Damian O'Donohue said his team had worked hard this week after its touch-up by Goodna.

"I think we'll go a lot better,'' he said.

However, like Roos, he was far from concerned about an early loss to the high-flying Eagles. "We haven't really done much with the football yet,'' O'Donohue said. "We've just been getting fit and stuff, that's why I'm not too concerned.

"We're starting to build it up. We want to be firing at the end.

"Last year we got heaps of injuries towards the end and probably were a bit flat.

"We're trying a different tactic this year and hopefully be firing at the right time.''

The Bluebirds will be without regular forwards Tele Salesa and Zeb Nuuol this week-end.

Jake O'Doherty will lead the side with Salesa away.

Game day

RLI Rd 3: Saturday (5pm) - West End v Goodna at Daniels Park.

Sunday (3pm): Norths v Redbank Plains at Keith Sternberg Oval; Swifts v Fassifern at Purga.