The highly-anticipated Canberra Raiders Cup draw has been released for the 2019 season, and the Goulburn Bulldogs’ new-look side will undergo a trial by fire in the early weeks of the competition.
To kick off what Bulldogs head coach Adam Kyle expects will be a competition that is “a fair bit stronger than it was last season”, Goulburn will play the Queanbeyan Roos at the Workers Arena on April 7.
The Roos finished in third position last year, and made a strong run through to the finals, but Kyle said that the Bulldogs will come into the game looking to make a statement early in the new season.
“They only beat us by a try last season at the Workers, and obviously the team that we had last year, as good as we were, we were under-strength in that game,” Kyle said.
“I think we come into that round one fixture really positive, really confident, looking to take some big scalps early.”
Goulburn’s 2019 opponents will have to come to grips with a side the likes of which they have not played before. In addition to the signings of former NRL players Mitchell and Tyler Cornish and James Aubusson, the club has recruited former Tuggeranong lock Liam Oakley and a couple of New Zealand players who will arrive in the new year.
This spate of new arrivals has Kyle excited about the possibilities on offer in the 2019 season, and he intends to turn the Workers Arena into a home-town fortress.
“We let our form slip away at home this year, so we’re really looking at making the Workers Arena a real fortress next year, and make it really difficult for teams to travel out to us,” Kyle said.
“If we can pick up pretty much every home game as a win this season, it really builds a platform for us.”
The influx of new players joining the Bulldogs will help the club achieve its goal of developing strong sides throughout every grade. This will create competition for places and, Kyle believes, lead to improved performances.
“We want to build a club that’s strong from Under 19’s through to first grade,” Kyle said.
“In doing that, that’s gonna breed competition and make players hungry to turn up to training each week and really fight for their spot.”
The Bulldogs will begin official pre-season training from January 15, however members of the club has already gotten together for four casual pre-Christmas training sessions, the last of which took place on Thursday afternoon.
Following their clash against the Queanbeyan Roos, the Bulldogs will face off against the Yass Magpies at the Workers Arena on Sunday April 14.