NORTH Albury coach Jason Akermanis believes the Hoppers are in for an exciting year, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
The often outspoken Brownlow medallist jump- ed to the defence of his embattled club yesterday as the Hoppers launched their “join in the chorus” membership drive.
North Albury is favourite to take out the wooden spoon after a summer rocked by player departures and debt.
The coach doesn’t care.
“You can say what you want,” Akermanis said.
“It doesn’t worry us.
“It’s not something we’re thinking about.
“Everyone wanted to talk about things that were out of our control, like players leaving and all that, but we’ve got this wonderful group of young men that have an enormous amount of character.”
The Hoppers showed plenty of good signs in their first hitout for the year last Saturday.
They pushed NEAFL heavyweight Queanbeyan to 25 points, an impressive result considering Albury lost to the same team by 33 points a fortnight earlier.
“It was a good game to see where our young group was at,” Akermanis said.
“We’ve got a lot of things we’ve worked on and so far, so good.
“If we can find that consistency week in, week out, it’s going to be an exciting year for us.”
North Albury is calling on all of its supporters to flock to Bunton Park on Saturday.
The Hoppers will hold a membership drive from midday as they host Rumbalara in a practice match.
Former North Albury star Damian Cupido coaches the Murray league club.
“Saturday is a big day,” Akermanis said.
“It’s an important day because we need all our members.
“If there’s any time you want to be a member, then you’ve got to come this Saturday.”
A senior membership starts at $90, with family ($120) and pensioner ($60) deals also available.
The game starts at 3.30pm.