Hornets' nest intact
"IT'S just a good bunch of blokes down here at the moment,” said Cudgen Hornets president Aaron Bryant, scanning the scene of his club's training on Thursday night.
Watching on as first grade trained at the north end of Cudgen's Wommin Bay Rd headquarters, Bryant shifted his focus to the southern end of the pitch, where the reserve squad was training with an overall loudness and intensity that caught his attention.
It was then that Bryant drilled down on why the Cudgen Hornets are the best team in the Northern Rivers right now, with the club undefeated after four rounds.
"I think our biggest strength this year is the quality of our reserve grade side,” Bryant said.
"Probably half our reserves could step up to first grade, so if the boys don't perform they can go back down.
"We've got a great under-18s, we've got a good culture going and we've got good coaches.”
While depth has created healthy competition for spots among Cudgen's core players, the club's A-graders are also firing, says fourth-year coach Pat Rosser.
"Some of the solid performers are Caleb Ziebell in the front row, Timmy James, and our two English boys, Elliot Munnelly and Anthony Cox, who have brought really positive energy and enthusiasm to the group,” Rosser said.
"Our halves in Jacob and Sam Grant have been really strong as well. They've really led the boys around the park.
Benjamin O'Gorman will join Grant and Ziebell to represent Northern Rivers in the Country Championships Under-23s opener today in Lismore.
If they can get through that match against Greater Northern Tigers unscathed, the trio will line-up on Sunday for the Hornets' next test against Byron Bay away at Red Devil Park.
"Byron haven't won a game yet this year, but they've got quite a strong quad,” said Rosser.
"I think they've just had a few injuries which have hurt.
"They'll be desperate to do well on their home ground and knock us off.”
Byron Bay vs Cudgen Hornets, 2.45pm Sunday,
Red Devil Park, Byron Bay.