ROBBIE Jackson isn’t stupid.
He knows what people are saying.
After a fruitful off-season, Wodonga enters the Cricket Albury-Wodonga season fully under the spotlight after the arrival of CAW stars Trent Ball, James Tonkin and Brendan Klein-Boonschate.
With those arrivals, comes expectation.
And with expectation, comes pressure.
Not that Jackson really cares.
“We’re fully aware the spotlight is on us, but it’s not really something that concerns us,” the coach said.
“You either handle it, or you don’t.
“It’s my job to make sure we do.
“From what you read and hear, it sounds like everybody is going to come gunning for us and we need to be ready for it.
“We’ve certainly addressed that.”
The Bulldogs are clear premiership fancies, thanks largely to their recruiting coups, but that’s not something that sits uncomfortably with Jackson.
“Internally, we would have gone into the season thinking we could win it, even without those guys,” he said.
“There’s not one game of cricket I play for Wodonga that I don’t think we can win.
“This is just the first time the external expectation probably matches the internal one.”
Not only has Wodonga landed a couple of star players but some of the competition’s best leaders, as well.
Ball is the competition’s representative coach, while Tonkin is the reigning premiership captain.
A ball is yet to be bowled in season 2013-14 but the pair have already had an impact on the playing group.
“They’ve all brought exactly what I thought they would,” Jackson said.
“I can’t fault them one bit.
“All our younger guys are feeding off them and asking questions left, right and centre.
“Their leadership has been fantastic.”
They’ve made a positive start off the field —now it’s time to make one on it.
The Bulldogs have nowhere to hide in the opening rounds, starting with an eagerly awaited clash with premiership rival St Patrick’s.
It doesn’t get any easier from there.
“It’s definitely a good chance to see where we’re at,” Jackson said.
“We’ve got last year’s grand finalists in the first two games, so it’s really important we start well.”