When the Goulburn Dirty Reds women take to the field in just over a week's time, they will focus on the twin pillars of 'patience' and 'adaptability'.
Following on from a promising campaign in 2020, which saw the Goulburn women reach the semi-finals in their first 15s competition, co-coach Ash Mewburn said the team has spent the off-season focused on drilling these two virtues into their minds.
"We just need to work on being patient," Mewburn said.
"If things aren't working our way, we just need to try and maintain possession and work our way up the field.
"Another word we're going to use a lot this year is being adaptable. What combinations work, what don't work, playing to the whistle, and trying to put our best foot forward for each game."
The Dirty Reds were expecting to get their campaign underway this weekend against Wests, who unfortunately had to pull out of the season.
Instead, Goulburn will have a bye in the first round, and its opening match will be against Royals in round two.
"It gives us a little bit more time to prepare ourselves for a home game against Royals, which is going to be a very physical game," Mewburn said.
"It's going to be challenging, but Pete [Oliver, Mewburn's co-coach] and I have been working the girls pretty hard at training to get them ready."
Because the Dirty Reds are smaller in stature than most of the Canberra teams, Mewburn is urging her players to focus on their technique, particularly in the scrums.
"Because we're great country people, we're that little bit smaller than the city folk, so we need to focus on technique when we verse the Canberra girls," she said.
Their first season in the ACT Women's 15s competition was a learning experience for the Dirty Reds. They earned some tough victories, and battled through gruelling defeats as well.
The experience they gleaned during the season, though, has not gone to waste, which Mewburn is pleased to see.
"We've got a full season of 15s under our belt, and we've got our Super W players back playing. We've also brought in about six newbies, which is exciting," she said.
"All season's going to come back to us being patient, and making sure we've got the right combinations by the end of the season."
Just as they did last year, the Dirty Reds have outlined goals they have set themselves ahead of the 2021 season.
In the short term, they hope to remain largely injury-free, while in the long term, they hope to make the semi-finals and go one better than last season.
The Goulburn Dirty Reds women will take on Royals on Saturday, April 24, from 1.40pm at Poidevin Oval to get their season underway.
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