HORSHAM’S Rugby League side, the Horsham Panthers, are well on the way to a strong season after gaining a permanent home for the 2017 season.
Their home ground will be at the Horsham Racecourse.
The Panthers will play their first league game on October 7 and the season finishes on December 16.
Coach Rob Gascoyne said his team had a practice match looming against the Mildura Tigers.
“That will be played here in Horsham,” he said.
“It’s fantastic that we will be able to try out the new ground.”
Gascoyne said the Panthers had been training two days a week – Wednesday night is resistance training and on Saturday players complete ball work at the Horsham Racecourse.
“We train in the afternoon around 4pm here on a Saturday,” he said.
“The ground is perfect. It probably needs a bit more grass on it (ideally), but it’s all coming together.”
Gascoyne said he had an experienced squad coming into the season.
“I have a lot of boys who have a lot of expectations – they want to beat certain teams and with the coach right and a new committee … everything is looking good,” he said.
Jayden Gascoyne is the leader of the group and has previously been picked for a state team.
Jason Bird is the captain of the Panthers and boasts a wealth of experience.
Gascoyne said he had called on his players to gain weight in their year off from the sport.
“Zane Kelly is getting up there with the boys – he’s put on a bit of weight, which is really good,” he said.
“We’ve also picked up a couple of new guys who come from rugby union backgrounds.
“We have some multicultural guys at our club, which is good for our team.”
The Panthers also picked up Evett Hanson, who used to live at Macarthur.
“He’s a good player. He played in Mackay, Queensland. He’s got experience,” Gascoyne said.
Gascoyne is also the president of the club and said he and treasurer Ian Clough have completed a power of work to get the ground up and running.
“The practice match is going to be really good for us,” he said.
“I’m really happy with how it has all turned out.”
Gascoyne said his group were excited to get playing the game they loved together.
“The guys are ready to go,” he said.
Gascoyne said Rugby League was a great sport to watch.
“I would tell people to come out here and have a look – it’s fantastic,” he said.
“You see the big hits and you can barrack the Horsham team. We get a good crowd here. I hope people come and support us.”
In the coming weeks new goal posts will be put into the ground to complete the field.
Gascoyne believes it will be a good year if his players can commit to training.
“I think we will be near the top, we just need to get all the boys to training,” he said.
The Panthers also have new personnel helping the team stay fit with head trainer Ian Clough.
Lateesha Gascoyne is the club’s new secretary while Adam Arnott is vice-president.