Steamers to hit track as side to beat

FORMER Steamers second grade coach Mick Raynes will take on the top job for the reigning premiers next year.

After a year away from rugby Raynes says he is refreshed and undaunted by the challenge of defending the title and a record that saw the blue and golds undefeated.

The former CSU player says last year’s squad was as close to perfect as imaginable at this level of rugby.

“They were phenomenal and in the years to come they will be looked upon as one of the great sporting teams to come out of Albury,” he said.

“Their attack was so relentless, five to 10 phases of rugby, that it simply exhausted other teams.”

Raynes coached the reserves under Don Cameron in 2011 and 2012 and was a teammate of last year’s coach Dave Stuart when they played at the Reddies.

“I’m very comfortable with the style of play they adopted last year and expect to follow that blueprint,” he said.

“I’d expect we will have a target on our back — teams will come at us hard and we know that we are going to have to be on our front foot when it comes to our defence.”

Raynes is not concerned at the loss of personnel.

“They were a great team but a relatively old team and they retired on a winning note,” he said.

“But we have a group of players from the under-18s that were so dominant in 2008 and 2009 that are now starting to show their true potential and will become leaders at the club.”

Steamers president Justin Clancy said they were pleased with the return of Raynes to the club and the retention of second grade premiership winning coach Troy Tatchell.

“We would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the coaching group of 2013, in particular director of coaching Steve Stone, and first grade coach Dave Stuart,” he said.

“Steve has taken up a role in the Canberra premier division and Dave has moved to Dubbo for work and family reasons.

“Fitness coach Nathan Honeyman has also taken up a new role with Wodonga Saints.

“Robbie Dunlop of Unity1 Fitness will assist the club next year.”

The Steamers will train on Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 7.

I’d expect we will have a target on our back — teams will come at us hard. MICK RAYNES

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