After a long period of disappointment, the Singleton Greyhounds are ready to return to dominance – thanks in part to a new wave of talent.
The Greyhounds fell one game short of the decider in the 2018 Group 21 Country Rugby League competition, showing a significant improvement on previous years. Speaking at Singleton Outdoors, the first stop of the 2018 Hogs for the Homeless tour, Greyhounds captain-coach and president Jye Bailey was confident ahead of the new season.
“Last year we had a massive improvement on the year before and this year again I think we’re going to be up there,” Bailey tells NSWRL.com.au. “We’re a massive chance to win the comp.
“Singleton went through a stage where they were really dominant there for about a five-year spell and then we had another period – which we’re coming out of now – where we were pretty poor for about five years. I think we’ll keep going with that this year.”
The experienced Bailey is a major part of the club’s form reversal, but also helping their cause will be Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler, who spoke at length with Singleton players today.
“‘Freddy’ was really good, he even came and had a chat to me about a few things and a few pointers,” Bailey says. “We’ve got a couple of young blokes here who play for the Knights in the junior system, he pulled them aside and had a yarn to them.
“Having the NSW Blues coach pulling blokes aside it can only help.”
Among those young guns is interchange forward Tom Baker, who was no stranger to the 31-time NSW representative when he rolled into town this afternoon.
“I played under-16s State of Origin in 2016 (with Fittler as coach),” Baker says. “‘Freddy’s a great bloke, he’s the best coach I’ve ever had. He’s just got a different type of knowledge about the game, it’s unreal.
“When he coached us, it wasn’t your standard ‘do everything the same,’ he kind of went outside of what usually happens. There was a lot of positivity.”
The next task for Baker will be the Balmain Tigers, when he faces them in Round 2 of the SG Ball Cup at Leichhardt Oval tomorrow night. When that season has concluded, he’ll return to the Greyhounds to continue his development in his second year of open-age Rugby League.