Cudgen display has Bell happy

By Bob Anthony

FOR Cudgen Hornets coach Jason Bell, the final scoreline from yesterday's trial game against Mullumbimby was not important.

What was important was the commitment shown by his side in their first game together after being hurriedly assembled last month.

The Hornets had been forced to recruit a side after off-season dramas rocked the club with 2006 premiership winning coach coach Jamie Mathiou and many of the players heading north to play in the Gold Coast Rugby League competition.

Since their departure Bell has been called upon to cobble together a side to compete in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) premiership.

The new-look side had its first hitout yesterday, taking on Mullumbimby at Ned Byrne Field.

Mullumbimby showed the benefit of a full pre-season together running out winners 32-0 in the wet and windy conditions but Bell remained upbeat.

"When you consider that these guys have only been together for about four weeks and some of them fronted up after the reserve grade game, there's plenty of spirit here," the former Parramatta playmaker said.

"We can take a lot out of this trial and we are definitely looking forward to the opening game of the season against Murwillumbah here at Cudgen."

Yesterday's trial will be Cudgen's only hitout ahead of their season opener on April 15.

Mullumbimby looked impressive yesterday but Cudgen showed plenty of courage and their skills can only improve as the season progresses.

Before the game Bell said he wanted his side to play an "enterprising style" of football and to back themselves when they saw opportunities.

They did that against the Giants with only poor handling ending some good attacking moves.

The Hornets also showed that they have the foundations of a good defensive structure.

The visitors repeatedly put the Hornets under pressure but the hosts were able to repel many of their raids.

"The ability is there and we just have to improve on our fitness levels but that will come," Bell said.

Bell, who hasn't played in a few seasons, was among those to take the field yesterday and he was pleased to emerge unscathed and that "his old legs held up".

Cudgen were best served by prop Brad Smith who continually led the forwards in attack while front-row partner Kurt Henry, lock Brad Wann, halfback Matt Yonan and fullback Nat Baker also impressed.

It proved to be a good day for the visitors who also took the reserve grade and under 18/19 games.

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